Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Emergency declared at site of gasoline leak in Lexington
FRANKFORT, KY. (July 11, 2005) – The state has declared an environmental emergency and the Division of Waste Management (DWM) is overseeing corrective action at a Lexington service station where up to 17,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from an underground petroleum storage tank.
The leak was discovered in late June after the Lexington Division of Environmental and Emergency Management received complaints about odors from sewers and buildings. Investigators traced the odors to the station.
A potential for explosive fumes means there is an ongoing threat to human health and safety, said Bill Burger, field operations manager for the division, an agency of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. The emergency declaration gives the agency needed flexibility for rapidly addressing the problem, Burger said.
DWM has been overseeing mitigation work at the station, Circle 4 Shell, at the intersection of New Circle and Russell Cave roads in Lexington, where a one-inch hole in a 35-year-old tank was found.
The leak resulted in vapors in sanitary sewers, gasoline fumes in buildings and a threat to drinking water. The tank was pumped dry and removed. The station, owned by Thoroughbred Energy, remains open. At DWM’s direction, the company’s contractors set up a venting system to remove vapor from sewer lines.
Burger said the DWM is assessing the environmental impact of the release. It has installed monitoring wells and bored dozens of soil core samples to determine the extent. Recoverable gasoline was removed from the ground.
There is a concern that leak plumes may invade the Royal Springs karst that supplies water to Georgetown. Officials in Georgetown have been alerted and are continuously testing. If gasoline constituents are detected, Georgetown can switch to one of two backup sources.