Cause of gas leak at Circle K found

Source:, April 11, 2019
By: Mary Ann Greier

A faulty leak detection valve appeared to be the culprit for a gasoline leak at Circle K East which seeped into the basement of a neighboring home on Woodland Avenue, according to Salem Fire Chief Scott Mason.
Mason reported Wednesday that’s what he learned in his conversations with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency staff and contractors at the scene, which was confirmed by OEPA spokesman James Lee, who during a phone conversation with the Salem News said the source of the leak had been found.
He said a vaccuum truck was removing any pooled gasoline and workers would begin the process of removing contaminated soil. Contractors on the premises included American Environmental, hired by Circle K to handle the site survey and determine how to clean up the gasoline and conduct the remediation, and Tanknology, which conducted a pressure test on the tanks and the gas lines, according to Mason.
Mason said the gasoline was being removed from the inspection wells. He explained that a different contractor on the scene Tuesday reported not finding any gasoline in inspection wells for the tanks, but when the OEPA performed it’s own inspection, gasoline was found in the inspection wells. Mason said that means gasoline was present that shouldn’t have been, outside the tanks, and it was getting into the basement next door.
Lee said that Circle K was being cooperative in all aspects to address the leak and address the needs of the homeowners, who voluntarily left their home pending everything getting cleaned up. Natural gas to the home has been shut off pending the cleanup.
Cassie Hillyer, who lives in the home with her husband Sam, their 9-month-old son Sam Jr. and two puppies, one 8 weeks old and one 9 months old, said Circle K was treating them well and was paying for their hotel and provided them with a gift card. She said she just wants everything taken care of.
The family just purchased the property in December and kicked off the new year in their new home. When the leak occurred, she said “we really didn’t have anywhere to stay.” The puppies are staying with a relative who has a small home while the family stays in the hotel.
Besides Circle K, Hillyer said everyone has been helpful and specifically noted the help of the fire department and Mason, Salem Sewer & Drain and Columbia Gas. Salem Sewer & Drain and Columbia Gas had been on the scene Tuesday as part of the investigation
Mason said the fire department and Columbia Gas were initially called to the residence Monday for a gas odor, detecting just a slight odor that they thought could be coming through an open window, but the odor was a lot stronger on Tuesday. Columbia Gas had returned and Salem Sewer and Drain had come to the scene also. Both the city service and water departments and the city health department had been there, too, along with the first contractor Circle K had checking the fuel tanks and inspection wells for a gasoline leak. There had been no evidence of contaminants in the storm drains or sanitary sewer system.
Lee said there were no impacts to local drinking water and that gasoline was not leaking out of the fuel tanks.
“There will be followup by the OEPA,” he said.

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