State settles with Westmont gas station that caused fires, explosions

State officials have settled their legal action with a west suburban gas station that sprung a leak last year causing fires, explosions and evacuations, the ABC7 I-Team learned Thursday.

The consent order "ensures the company will continue to address contamination from a gasoline leak at one of the company's DuPage County gas stations," said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Speedway Gas Station, located at 6241 S. Cass Ave. in Westmont, Illinois, does not admit any guilt under the terms of the agreement, following a leak in October 2017 that resulted in an explosion at a condominium complex and several additional explosions nearby. Speedway will face no criminal charges as a result of the incident under the terms of the settlement.

Madigan and DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin entered into the agreement to resolve their lawsuit against Speedway. The west suburban gas station houses four 10,000-gallon gasoline tanks that are located underground adjacent to a county sanitary sewer system. Madigan and Berlin sued Speedway after leaking gasoline and petroleum migrated into the sewer system and eventually caused an explosion at a nearby condominium and several additional explosions in the community. Authorities believe the condo explosion resulted from gasoline vapors being ignited by a laundry dryer.
The settlement requires Speedway to work with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to investigate soil and groundwater for contamination that may have been caused by the leaking underground storage tanks and perform any necessary cleanup. The settlement also requires Speedway to pay a $75,000 penalty and to work with DuPage County to address contaminated soil on Cass Avenue.

"Constant vigilance is critical when flammable materials such as gasoline are being stored in residential areas," Madigan said. "This settlement ensures that Speedway will continue to clean up and test the site for contamination."

In addition to the evacuation at the Knoll Condominiums, approximately six other homes were evacuated. Pressure from gasoline vapors in the sanitary sewer system caused 14 manhole covers along the sewer line to be blown off.

Following the explosions, Speedway emptied and removed the affected tank and remaining underground storage tanks. Speedway also conducted an investigation into the release and performed air monitoring along the sanitary sewer until no explosive vapors were detected. Speedway also conducted sampling for signs of gasoline and petroleum and continues to report the findings to the IEPA on a quarterly basis. Speedway has installed a new underground storage system and replaced sanitary and storm water infrastructure. Speedway also made repairs to the Knoll Condominiums, and residents have returned.

State and county officials say the settlement means Speedway will continue to address contamination issues; from ongoing testing to covering any repair work.

Speedway officials have not responded to I-Team messages.
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