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Elgin, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has filed a lawsuit in Olmsted County Court against the owner of an area gas station over a major underground leak of gasoline.

The lawsuit seeks damages from Gurek Inc., the owner and operator of the Cenex station along Highway 42 in Elgin. It alleges the company "knowingly bypass CP equipment for 41 days that would have prevented a leak," and requests the court order Gurek to reimburse the state for the cost of investigations, emergency response, and corrective actions in addition to a penalty for violating underground tank regulations.

Ohio Dept. of Commerce
Ohio Dept. of Commerce

An MPCA news release says the leak released up to 10,000 gallons of gasoline that entered city water supply lines. So far, cleanup operations have recovered more than 4500 gallons of gasoline and have required the removal of more than 31,000 tons of soil.

The court filing indicates the leak was discovered in late March of last year when a resident detected the odor of gasoline coming from a storm sewer near the Next Station. The MPCA investigation found that employees of the station were directed to hit a reset button on a control panel for the electronic line leak detectors after it began displaying an error code in late January of last year.

Andy Brownell
MPCA photo

The investigation determined two holes in pipes leaked gasoline at a rate of more than 3 gallons per hour. The fuel entered the city storm sewer system that drains into a nearby trout stream and an observation well found about 2 1/2 feet of gasoline floating on top of the groundwater.

MPCA officials say nearby residents impacted by the leak are being provided with bottled water and/or water filtration. The City of Elgin will also need to repair waterlines in the area. The agency is also concerned that vapor from the gasoline could seep into basements and foundations and is asking Elgin residents to report any vapor concerns to the Elgin Fire Department Department.

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