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Officials Investigate Mid-Michigan Gasoline Leak

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ITHACA (AP) - City officials, environmental regulators and a company are investigating a gasoline leak that apparently came from a tank at mid-Michigan gas station earlier this year.

Work began Thursday to excavate at the Beacon and Bridge gas station in Ithaca, the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant reported. Shallow groundwater will be vacuumed up in order to diminish any further spread.

Beacon and Bridge Co. said a damaged safety valve was fixed and more work is planned. It estimated that several hundred gallons of gasoline were released, although an exact amount isn’t known, said Dan Wynn, its vice president of operations.

“It was a safety valve failure,” Wynn said. “We thought it was contained. We hired the best minds we could find – this is something I’m not used to dealing with. I apologize to the people who’ve been affected. We want more than anything to get this problem fixed.”

A public works crew detected gasoline in a sewer manhole about 40 miles north of Lansing in October and called authorities. Some people in the area reported vapors coming into homes or businesses and a few families left their homes.

Complaints of problems since then have mostly stopped and the smell of gasoline nearly disappeared.

As part of the investigation, officials will test the air inside buildings in the neighborhood around the station. The investigation also may include a survey asking questions about health and other possible sources of gasoline-like odors.

A community meeting was held Wednesday, with the company, city officials, environmental consultants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Michigan departments of Community Health and Environmental Quality on hand.

Fire Chief Dave Nelson, who conducted the initial investigations, said details of air monitoring and other efforts are being finalized.

“The excavation … as well as additional soil borings/monitoring wells will help the company develop a comprehensive action plan,” Foster said.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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