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DEQ discovers source of fuel smell that plagues Layton neighborhood

Posted at 1:02 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 23:25:00-05

LAYTON, Utah — Scientists with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality have narrowed down the source of petroleum vapors that has forced some residents of a Layton neighborhood to leave their homes.

A news release from DEQ said the source is petroleum products that leached into the groundwater adjacent to a gas station on Gentile St. The owner of the gas station is working with DEQ to determine if the station's underground fuel storage tanks are contributing to a plume of leached petroleum products

"Once in the soil, the petroleum dissolved in the groundwater and moved along the natural pathway toward the neighborhood at the intersection of Gentile and Angel streets. Along this pathway, it encountered a secondary track in the back-filled sewer trench and worked its way into the 40-year-old storm drain along Angel Street. The vapors then traveled from the storm drains into people’s homes," a news release from DEQ said.

Residents in that neighborhood first reported the petroleum odors on February 14. Since then, workers have installed vapor recovery systems in three homes, funded by Utah's Hazardous Substance Mitigation Act.  The vapor recovery equipment is helping to make those homes habitable again.

“It’s nice to be getting back home and getting life back to normal,” said Mark Berger, one of the affected residents, in the news release. “Things have improved significantly, and we have moved back in.”

Results of drinking water tests in the area showed no contamination, but storm drain samples do show hydrocarbon contamination.

Scientists with the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation are unsure of the extent of the petroleum plume, and they ask residents who smell any more petroleum odors coming into their homes or from nearby storm drains to call 911.