Tolono gas station leak not believed to have contaminated area

Tolono gas station leak not believed to have contaminated area

TOLONO – Tolono residents should not be concerned about their safety after a gas station with apparently leaking tanks closed, according to a government spokeswoman.

The Freedom Oil Co. at 101 N. Watson St. closed late Friday after reporting to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on June 3 that a 10,000-gallon tank and a 6,000-gallon tank had spilled.

IEPA spokeswoman Maggie Carson said there is no reason to believe the area is contaminated.

"It is very unlikely," Carson said Tuesday. "The majority of these have little or no effect on neighbors."

Carson said that if neighbors had smelled vapors, the Tolono volunteer fire department would have been called to evacuate residents.

"If there is actually gasoline at the (ground) surface or getting into ditches, the local fire department or state fire marshal would notify neighbors and an emergency response team would be called in to clean it up," Carson added. "You'd smell it."

Tolono fire chief Doug Dillavou said his department had not been notified of any problems at the gas station.

According to the IEPA, Freedom plans to have a contractor remove the tanks, and the state fire marshal's office will be present due to the volatility of the contents.

Dillavou said that if any contamination is found during the removal of the tanks, the state fire marshal will send his department a report.

Carson said most incidents such as the one in Tolono do not cause direct contamination. But there is an important exception.

"Heavy rains can adversely affect that," she said.

Carson explained that a high water table can cause petroleum and its vapors to rise into the sewer system.

Village officials have received no notification about the gas station's closing.

"It came as a surprise to me," Village President Greg Cler said Tuesday. "It surprised a lot of people."

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

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