Leak investigation ongoing

McCUTCHENVILLE – Water and air continue to be tested in McCutchenville as officials investigate a gasoline leak they believe originated at the village’s Clark station.

Dean Henry, Seneca County’s public information officer, said Sunday that crews are awaiting water sample results.

Private contractors, under the direction of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conducted routine testing of groundwater sources near the origin of the leak, according to a release.

Henry said it was his understanding that crews expect to have final water testing done this week.

“The preliminaries were all negative for the water. There’s no evidence of any contamination of water,” he said.

Officials learned of the gasoline leak Wednesday afternoon. Gasoline, according to the release, was escaping from an underground storage tank and infiltrated the storm water system.

Crews have not been able to confirm whether it is a sudden leak or has been occurring for a while, Henry said.

“They just don’t know,” he said.

Henry said air testing may continue for a while. Two homes still are showing readings for benzene, and crews are convinced the readings are resulting from gas coming from tile, he said.

Residents of the two homes are displaced.

“That’s voluntary. There’s not (a) forced evacuation,” Henry said.

He said crews dug a trench on the gas station property, and the dirt coming out of it was “hot,” meaning it is contaminated, and stained. Apparently, the staining is evidence of long-term exposure, he said.

Crews received permission to dig on the grounds of the former McCutchenville school building. Henry said they found terra cotta tile coming from the gas station area and were able to detect chemicals.

“They’re testing for benzene and (volatile organic compounds),” he said.

Anyone who smells gasoline or benzene, which Henry said has a fruitier odor and is aromatic, should call 911 or McCutchenville Volunteer Fire Department at (419) 981-5005.