The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is investigating a leak in an underground holding tank at a Bloomington gas station that released an unknown amount of fuel into the city’s sewers.
The City of Bloomington Utilities said hydrocarbon odors were detected coming from sewage flowing into the Dillman Road Wastewater Treatment Plant late Sunday night. City workers investigated and found the smell came from a “large release” of gasoline into a sewer from a leak in an underground holding tank or underground piping near a Village Pantry gas station at 1307 W. Third St.
City officials said the leak was stopped by removing fuel from the storage tanks, and cleanup efforts have begun to minimize further impact. Officials said they do not know how long the cleanup will take.
City officials said there is currently no risk to residents and no cause for alarm. If residents smell gasoline inside their homes, they should ventilate the area by opening windows and avoiding an open flame. Concerned residents can call 812-269-6052 for more information.
IDEM sent the station’s owners a notice for an upcoming inspection on Oct. 31.
According to IDEM records, the underground storage tank and piping are only about 21 years old.
Last July, IDEM inspectors noted several violations at the gas station, including a failure to have overfill prevention equipment installed properly and a failure to perform periodic testing of overfill equipment. The station returned to compliance in Sept. 2021.
In October, IDEM noted a discrepancy in the piping reported by environmental officials from GPM Investments LLC, the company that owns the gas station. The company reported installing Omniflex piping, but IDEM found that inspectors and historic notification forms reported Enviroflex piping was installed.
The difference could be consequential, as Enviroflex piping made before 1994 was found to degrade and, eventually, fail. Environmental agencies in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and other states warn the piping could cause leaks, and they tell inspectors to look out for them. The piping has been the subject of lawsuits launched by municipalities in several states.