Speedway settles state lawsuit over leaking gas tanks and contaminated sewers at Westmont station
Source: https://www.chicagotribune.com, December 10, 2018
By: Kimberly Fornek
The Illinois Attorney General and the DuPage County State’s Attorney offices have reached a settlement of their lawsuit against Speedway LLC, that requires the company pay a $75,000 penalty.
The state and county sued Speedway in 2017 after gasoline leaking from underground storage tanks at a Speedway gas station at 6241 S. Cass Ave. in Westmont, infiltrated storm and sanitary sewers. Flammable fumes moving through the sewer systems caused explosions in homes and a condominium building in Willowbrook, officials determined.
An 80-year-old woman was hospitalized after she was injured by an explosion in a laundry room in the The Knolls building, at 6167 Knoll Wood Road, on Oct. 20, 2017.
The lawsuit claimed Speedway created a water pollution hazard and caused water and air pollution and a substantial danger to the environment and public health.
The settlement, which was reached in November and filed in DuPage County Court Dec. 4, lists the work Speedway has completed in response to the problem, including removing and replacing all the underground fuel tanks at the gas station and monitoring wells, manholes and sewers at first daily and then weekly until November 2017.
Sampling and monitoring are done on a quarterly basis, the consent order states.
Speedway shall continue to investigate on- and off-site soil, surface water and groundwater impacts that may have been caused by the leaking tanks and do appropriate remediation as requested by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, until the agency issues a “No further remediation” letter to Speedway.
Speedway also is required to reimburse DuPage County $3,000 for past attorney fees for a special assistant state’s attorney.
Speedway officials had no comment beyond the information in the consent order.
Residents of The Knolls, a condominium development on the east side of Clarendon Hills Road at 61st Street, and the Stanhope Court complex on Clarendon Hills Road, north of 63rd Street, reported unusual odors the afternoon of Oct. 19. Firefighters responded, but did not find the source of the odor.
At about 9 a.m. the next day, the explosion in the Knolls laundry room occurred, followed by reports of explosions in houses and sewers that lifted manhole covers along 63rd Street.
Firefighters responded to a fire and explosion in a house on Tennessee Avenue and 63rd Street. Gas vapors apparently caused an explosion in the basement of a house on the 6200 block of South Bentley Avenue, but no injuries were reported.
Immediately after the explosions, 150 units at the Knolls complex were evacuated. Residents of 32 units were not allowed to return for nearly a week. The residents of the 12 units in the building where a dryer apparently ignited gas vapors in the laundry room did not return for at least seven months, while their homes and structural damage to the building were repaired.
Those units have been reoccupied, the Knolls Homeowners Association said.
In April 2018, the Illinois Fire Marshall inspected and approved the new underground fuel storage system at the Speedway station.