ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN, DUPAGE COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT WITH SPEEDWAY
Settlement Ensures Continued Monitoring & Cleanup at Site of Gas Leak, Explosions
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin today announced a settlement with Speedway LLC that ensures the company will continue to address contamination from a gasoline leak at one of the company’s DuPage County gas stations that resulted in an explosion at a condominium complex and several additional explosions nearby.
Madigan and Berlin entered the settlement in DuPage County Circuit Court to resolve a lawsuit against Speedway, which operates a Speedway Gas Station located at 6241 S. Cass Ave. in Westmont, Ill. The Speedway station houses underground storage tanks, four of which are 10,000-gallon gasoline tanks that are located adjacent to a county sanitary sewer system. Madigan and Berlin sued Speedway after leaking gasoline and petroleum migrated into the sewer system and eventually caused an explosion at a nearby condominium and several additional explosions in the community. Gasoline is highly flammable and can migrate through soil and sewer systems into basements, crawl space cracks and pipes to create inhalation and explosion hazards. Officials believe the condominium explosion was the result of gasoline vapors being ignited by a laundry dryer.
The settlement requires Speedway to work with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to investigate soil and groundwater for contamination that may have been caused by the leaking underground storage tanks and perform any necessary cleanup. The settlement also requires Speedway to pay a $75,000 penalty and to work with DuPage County to address contaminated soil on Cass Avenue.
“Constant vigilance is critical when flammable materials such as gasoline are being stored in residential areas,” Madigan said. “This settlement ensures that Speedway will continue to clean up and test the site for contamination.”
Madigan and Berlin sued Speedway in November 2017 after a leak caused an explosion at the Knoll Condominiums just over a mile away from the station, which resulted in injury to a resident. All 150 units had to be evacuated. A total of 10 explosions occurred in nearby residential buildings and along the sewer line that injured at least three people. In addition to the evacuation at the Knoll Condominiums, approximately six other homes were evacuated.
Additionally, pressure from gasoline vapors in the sanitary sewer system caused 14 manhole covers along the sewer line to be blown off.
Following the explosions, Speedway emptied and removed the affected tank and remaining underground storage tanks. Speedway also conducted an investigation into the release and performed air monitoring along the sanitary sewer until no explosive vapors were detected. Speedway also conducted sampling for signs of gasoline and petroleum and continues to report the findings to the IEPA on a quarterly basis. Speedway has installed a new underground storage system and replaced sanitary and storm water infrastructure. Speedway also made repairs to the Knoll Condominiums, and residents have returned.
Assistant Attorneys General Gerald Karr, Angad Nagra and Ellen O’Laughlin handled the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau. Assistant State’s Attorney Lisa Smith handled the case for the DuPage County State’s Attorney.