My Test

Sources of Fuel Related Contamination


Leakage/Spill from Pump

It happens more often than not - despite all the cautionary measures put in.


40 gallons of diesel fuel spilled at Yorktown 7-Eleven during refueling by tanker (10/9/2019) 


After fuel spill, store manager says "don't leave the pump unattended!" (4/23/2019) 

The area convenience store manager said, "THIS is why you never leave your vehicle unattended while pumping gas. I had to deal with this mess today and that's putting it lightly... Over 100 gallons of diesel fuel running down the parking lot from an overfilled truck that a guy was not watching. You're probably saying to yourself "but the pump is supposed to stop when the tank is full". Yes, they should, but they don't always do so. There's a reason but it's a long explanation we'll save for another time...…" 

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Published online Sept. 19, 2014 in the  Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 

  •Study Leader Markus Hilpert, a Sr Scientist in Dept of Environmental Health Services: 

“Over the lifespan of a gas station, concrete pads underneath the pumps can accumulate significant amounts of gasoline, which can eventually penetrate the concrete and escape into underlying soil and groundwater, potentially impacting the health of those who use wells as a water source. Conservatively, the researchers estimate, roughly 1,500 liters of gasoline are spilled at a typical gas station each decade.

“Our experiments suggest that even the smallest gasoline spills can have a lasting impact.“

"Even if only a small percentage reaches the ground, this could be problematic because gasoline contains harmful chemicals including benzene, a known human carcinogen."

  •Patrick N. Breysse, a professor in the Dept of Environmental Health:  

"Chronic gasoline spills could well become significant public health issues since the gas station industry is currently trending away from small-scale service stations that typically dispense around 100,000 gallons per month to high-volume retailers that dispense more than 10 times this amount."

Oil Dropping from Vehicles and Runoff

 When they are stopped, some old vehicles drop oil on the surface.

Tiny fuel spills at gas stations can contaminate soil (12/17/2015)     By Emily Benson, a science communication graduate student at UC Santa Cruz.  

 According to a study by the California Air Resources Board, a typical gas station patron might spill 0.01 percent of the fuel he or she buys, Hilpert said. A mid-sized gas station sells about 100,000 gallons of fuel in a month, he added, which works out to 10 gallons of fuel dripping onto the ground every month – per gas station.

“If it’s just you, that’s fine – the problem is that there are many customers,” Hilpert said.

To quantify the cumulative impact of all those small spills, Hilpert and a colleague at Johns Hopkins University dripped gasoline and diesel fuel onto chunks of concrete in a lab. They monitored the mass of the fuel over time to see how much infiltrated the concrete and how much evaporated into the atmosphere.

About 10 percent of each drop of gasoline remained in the concrete after 4 hours, the researchers reported at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. For diesel, however, a much larger proportion of each drop lingered in the concrete: about 70 to 90 percent.

When gasoline spills, the proportion that doesn’t evaporate into the atmosphere will eventually seep down through the gas station’s concrete pad as vapor, Hilpert said. He estimates that the process takes about one year in the United States, where most gas station pads are about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) thick. Once the fuel vapors percolate through the concrete, they will contaminate the soil below and possibly groundwater as well, Hilpert said.

Firefighting Foams Contaminate Wells


Governor Carney and 14 Governors Urge Congress to Act on Harmful PFAs - Sept 19, 2019