Gunnison Top Stop: Gasoline Spill

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A release (leak) of approximately 19,000 gallons of gasoline occurred from the underground storage tanks at the Top Stop located at 15 South Main Street, Gunnison, Utah. The gasoline has contaminated soil and groundwater underlying parts of Gunnison. Because the contamination originated from their underground storage tanks, Top Stop is considered the responsible party, which means they are required to comply with State and Federal requirements for emergency response, investigation and cleanup.

Top Stop hired Wasatch Environmental Consultants to perform this emergency response, investigation and cleanup. The State of Utah, Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) provides regulatory oversight for cleanup of contamination from underground storage tanks. The DERR insures that the work conducted by Wasatch on behalf of Top Stop meets the requirements of both State and Federal Laws.

The gasoline contamination migrated (moved) underground to the southwest of the Top Stop station. The contamination appears to be following a depression in a hard pan layer that lies approximately 10-13 feet below the ground surface. Impacts associated with the spill include gasoline vapors in businesses and residences. Vapor mitigation efforts are underway and have been successful in many of the impacted buildings. If you suspect vapors in your building or home, you may contact Lance Hess of Remedy, Inc. (801) 361-9296 to conduct a vapor survey.

Emergency actions and investigation work are summarized in the following reports. All documents on this page are in the PDF format, unless otherwise indicated. Additional information can be obtained from the Gunnison City Website. As additional reports are submitted, they will be included on this website. For now, get Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

This page is not currently maintained. For all current and up to date site information, correspondence, sampling data, corrective action activities, and ongoing requirements go to the DEQ Interactive Map.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Responsible for the Gasoline Release?

Federal and State laws require the individual or company who owned the tank to take necessary emergency actions, investigate, and clean up contamination resulting from a leaking tank. Responsibility includes providing the financial means to complete the work necessary to clean up the contamination. In this case, Top Stop owned and operated the underground storage tank that leaked, which makes them the responsible party. The State of Utah Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) provides regulatory oversight to insure that Top Stop complies with Federal and State laws.

How will Top Stop Accomplish the Cleanup?

Most tank owners do not have the expertise or staff in-house to complete the work necessary following a petroleum spill, so they hire an environmental consultant. In this case, Top Stop has hired Wasatch Environmental to take emergency actions, investigate and clean up the contamination associated with their leaking tank. Wasatch works for Top Stop, but is one of approximately fifty companies certified by the State to conduct investigation and cleanup on leaking tank projects. Wasatch has also enlisted several additional contractors to assist them in this work.

What is the State Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) Trust Fund that I Have Heard About?

Under Federal Law, all underground storage tank owners must carry at least $1,000,000 of financial assurance to cover the cost of cleaning up a leaking tank. In order to assist tank owners in meeting this requirement, the Utah legislature established the Petroleum Storage Tank Trust Fund. This Fund provides all participating tank owners with the required $1,000,000 of financial assurance. The money comes from fees charged annually on tanks as well as a ½ cent per gallon surcharge assessed on each gallon of petroleum that is put into the storage tanks. Participation in this Fund is voluntary. Since Top Stop participates in the PST Fund, they pay a $10,000 deductible and are eligible for $990,000 of PST Funding to address emergency actions, investigation and cleanup of contamination from this spill.

What Happens When the $1,000,000 PST Trust Fund Coverage is Spent?

Top Stop bears full financial responsibility of continuing the required cleanup. The State continues to provide regulatory oversight to insure that Top Stop complies with State and Federal laws. If Top Stop fails to conduct required work, the State will issue orders and will pursue legal action, if necessary.

When Will the Project be Complete?

The project will be complete when the State’s cleanup standards are met. Projects of this scope often take years to complete, and the State will continue to be committed to insuring that Top Stop cleans this up to the established cleanup standards.

If I Leave My House Because of Vapors, When is it Safe to Return?

The decision to return cannot be answered the same way for everybody. Risk is dependant on your individual circumstances such as past medical history, age, pregnancy, sensitivity and other factors. In order to assist residents in making this very personal decision, Wasatch has hired Frank DeRosso (a Certified Industrial Hygienist) to help evaluate their laboratory results and individual circumstances to better understand risks associated with gasoline vapors. Residents are also encouraged to work with their personal physicians in evaluating their circumstances. The State requires that the cleanup continue until the air quality inside buildings returns to pre-spill conditions.