After investigating for more than a month, Kansas health and environmental officials have begun to narrow down the source of a fuel smell reported several weeks ago in Shawnee in the area near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Pflumm Road.
Driving the news: Kansas Department of Health and Environment investigators have identified a leak in a tank at the Temp Stop gas station 13515 W. 63rd Street.
- The tank is now being drained so it can be checked more thoroughly with a camera, said Stephanie Pfannenstiel, KDHE expert on leaking underground storage tanks.
Details: The gas station leak is the first solid lead investigators have had into why a gasoline or fuel smell was reported in the area going back to late June.
- The agency says it will continue to check whether there are additional leaks elsewhere.
- According to the tests done by KDHE so far, the leak or leaks have not created chemical levels high enough to cause any health or fire concerns.
- Cracks and gaps in the underlying limestone and shale allow any leaking product to flow where it will, and not necessarily the way groundwater would flow.
- “It’s the geology that makes it difficult,” Pfannenstiel said.
Background: Problems began in June when residents at three homes nearby reported the smell in their basements south of Shawnee Mission Parkway, she said.
- Pipeline companies checked the homes’ lines on top of the sanitary sewers but did not find anything.
- KDHE then got involved around July 5, first by putting ventilation on the sewer pipeline.
- Indoor air monitoring was also done on some businesses nearby. Only one — a Sonic restaurant — turned up any air quality concerns and that will be addressed with a ventilation system, she said.
- No new reports have come in about the smell since ventilation was installed, she said.
- A second gas set of gas pumps belonging to a Hy-Vee was ruled out as a source because of its location up a hill.
Going forward: Investigators have set up seven wells to monitor groundwater, but no results from those are back yet, Pfannenstiel said.
- Groundwater contamination should not be a concern because Shawnee’s water is drawn from a different aquifer, she said.
Roxie Hammill is a freelance journalist who reports frequently for the Post and other Kansas City area publications. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.