The owners of the Presto Convenience Store at 602 W. Ninth St. were ordered to remove the store's underground storage tanks Thursday after state workers detected fresh quantities of gasoline.
"They've asked us to remove the tanks, and we will," company vice president Doug Wald said.
The gasoline was discovered Wednesday evening, shortly after a series of observation tubes were installed.
"Approximately 3 feet of gasoline was observed in the bottom of the pit that surrounds the tanks," said Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
One hundred fifty gallons of fresh gasoline was pumped from the pit Thursday, she said.
"That's significant," Watson said.
A fuel-tank leak is suspected of causing a fire Sunday that destroyed a five-apartment house at 838 La. The house is across the street east from the convenience store.
Pressure tests on Wednesday found the tanks and their connecting lines to be leak free.
But on Thursday, Watson said, "some indications were found that a couple areas may not have been completely sealed."
More on the fire
- Source of gas leak remains a mystery (05-05-06)
- 6News video: KDHE inspects local business for gas leak (05-03-06)
- 43 homes are tested for leaking gasoline (05-03-06)
- 6News video: Investigators pinpoint cause of house fire (05-02-06)
- Gasoline leak suspected in blaze (05-02-06)
- 6News video: Fire officials try and sniff out cause of house fire
- Five-unit house destroyed in fire (05-01-06)
- 6News video: House fire leaves seven homeless (04-30-06)
Workers also noted the tanks, installed in 1978, were embedded in clay rather than sand.
"Clay, over time, can result in rust," Watson said.
Plans call for removing the tanks Monday.
"They will be expected to remove as much of the pit as possible," Watson said.
Replacement costs, she said, will not be covered by the Kansas Petroleum Storage Tank trust funds.
Wald said he expects most of the costs to be covered by the store's insurance.
"That's what I've been doing all day - meeting with insurance agents," he said.
The trust fund, financed by a 1 cent per gallon fee on petroleum products, is expected to cover most of the state's costs in responding to the leak.
Neither Watson nor Wald were willing to predict the costs of the cleanup or of the new tanks. State workers have been on the scene round-the-clock since Sunday morning.
Wald said he was at a loss to explain how the leaks had eluded earlier monitoring and testing.
"It doesn't matter," he said. "If we're responsible for this, we're going to take care of it. We're going to do whatever KDHE tells us to do."