Roughly 40,000 gallons of gasoline leaked in Fort Payne, but ADEM reports no public threat

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. — A gasoline leak in Fort Payne raised questions among concerned residents. Officials believe roughly 40,000 gallons leaked over a period of about three months.

X-Treme Express Car Wash is located on Gault Avenue in Fort Payne. It has three underground gasoline strange tanks on site. “The tank monitors, the line pressure monitors, had not indicated that there was a problem,” explained DeKalb County EMA Director Anthony Clifton.

Clifton says in early November, the owner noticed there was an issue and reported a release from the unleaded gas tank to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Officials believe roughly 40,000 gallons of gas leaked. "This apparently was over a period of about three months,” Clifton said. “It was not a tank issue, it was a line issue."

Clifton said the gas could have soaked into the rock underneath the site. Because of the drought, the water table was low so that it prevented runoff into streams and kept it confined.  "We believe a lot of it may have been picked up through the storm drain system and carried on through and went out through the water treatment plant,” Clifton said.

That would have been so diluted, Clifton says the gas would have been undetectable.

A report from ADEM says there are no private drinking water wells located within 1,000 feet of the site and no public water supply wells are located within one mile of the site.

The reports continues to read no drinking water supply wells or surface waters have been impacted and there isn’t an imminent threat of contamination to either one.

Fort Payne’s water comes from a reservoir, well away from the site. Clifton says they never had any reports of issues from the leak. "According to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, everybody is safe, there are no contaminants to worry about,” Clifton said.

Officials say the owners were in compliance and up to date on inspections, and the spill was accidental. As a result, the remediation was taken care of by ADEM.