Bad Gas at New Jersey Gas Station Contaminated by Rain

By June 13, 2018
Water Intrusion Service Station Tank

Significant rainfall amounts potentially contaminated an underground gasoline supply at an Ocean Township gas station, disabling vehicles and leaving more than a dozen motorists stranded. Thirteen drivers told police their vehicles experienced problems after fueling at the station. Several reported their engines began smoking and vibrating shortly after gassing up at the station located on Sunset Avenue in Ocean Township, authorities said.

A sample taken from a 5,000 gallon underground tank “revealed a significant amount of water in the gasoline,” said Township Police Lt. Timothy R. Torchia. The gas station was shut down while state and local officials investigated the cause, Torchia said.

Monmouth County Freeholder Gerry P. Scharfenberger noted that heavy rains left the county’s “interior creeks unusually swollen.” Scharfenberger said 3,000 gallons of tainted gasoline had been removed and hauled to a disposal facility two hours away. The remaining 2,000 gallons were removed the next day and the tank was sealed.

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If someone suspects they received poor quality fuel that caused damage to their vehicle, they should contact their state environmental authority.

Gas Station Fuel “Grossly Contaminated” with Water – Kills Car

Dear ABC News Fixer:  I filled my gas tank with fuel that was contaminated with water, causing more than $1,300 in damage to my car – and now the gas station won’t reimburse me. Within a mile of the gas station, my car was completely dead. I had it towed to the dealer, who found the gas tank was full of dirty water. I immediately filed a complaint with the Department of Agriculture. An inspector went to the gas station the next day and found that the fuel was grossly contaminated with water. He said the owner told him the pump was turned off for “routine maintenance,” but he found someone pumping water out of the underground fuel tank. The State fined the gas station.

Dear Consumer:  We pored over the inspection reports and spoke with the director of the consumer protection section at the Department of Agriculture, who oversaw this case. He told us that in addition to his inspector finding that a vendor had pumped out 800 gallons of water from the underground tank, they determined that the tank contained 5.5 inches of water – above the 2 inches allowed by law in some States. The state also tested two samples of gas, from two different days, both of which came back contaminated with water. The state issued a stop-sale order and $2,350 in fines.

The situation was complicated because the station is independently owned and receives its gas through a wholesale distributor. We learned a few things from this situation:

Filling up your car with water is a pretty rare occurrence, but we’re told consumers can reduce the risk by not using a pump where a tanker truck is refilling the storage tank. There is often a little water in that underground tank – for example, up to 2 inches is allowed by law in some States – and it’s normally not a problem, since water is heavier than gas and it stays at the bottom of the tank. But if the underground tank is being filled just as you use the pump, there’s a chance the water could slosh up and get mixed in.

If you suspect you’ve pumped water into your car, act quickly. Document everything. Keep your receipt and know the pump number and time of purchase. Immediately call your State’s weights and measures inspectors (often part of the state Department of Agriculture). Ask them to send an inspector right away. Take the car to a certified mechanic, and if they find water in the gas, ask them to keep a sample of the contaminated fuel. Document the chain of evidence in case you need to have the sample tested for a court battle. And call your insurance company.

Read the full article at ABC News.

The ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor is the only water sensor on the market which tests for the intrusion of water in vessels containing ethanol blended fuels.

Speak with one of our specialists to learn more!

About the Author

ATS Environmental
ATS Environmental

ATS Environmental offers environmental solutions for residential properties as well as compliance testing and inspections of underground and aboveground storage tanks for commercial enterprises.

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