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Leak from Gas Station May Have Contaminated Water

TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Three homes next to a gas station in Carbon County have contaminated drinking water. The state tested their wells and found chemicals that come from diesel fuel.

A few weeks ago, people who live next to a Sunoco gas station in Towamensing Township noticed a foul odor coming from their faucets and shower while running the water. Now, they know that odor is a most likely from a gas leak underground.

"Can't really explain the smell, but it just smelled really bad, and then my boyfriend, he was washing his hands and he was like, I think it's coming from the sink," said Litzy McSweeney.

McSweeney says her family didn't think the odor was an issue until the water made her cousin sick

"He really wasn't feeling good. He had to stay home maybe two days from school and they had to take him to the hospital."

Another neighbor filed a complaint with the Department of Environmental Protection, which prompted crews to collect samples from 10 drinking water wells in the area.

A spokesperson for DEP says the wells at three homes tested positive for a concentration of chemicals found in diesel fuel. The DEP is investigating the cause but says it's most likely from a leak they discovered underground at a Sunoco gas station on Interchange Road.

The DEP tells Newswatch 16 Lehighton Sunoco is cooperating with the investigation and providing water treatment systems for those affected.

People who live nearby are frustrated that the leak was discovered at the end of April, and they are just finding out about it now.

"I'm just kind of disappointed that they couldn't have come here earlier and told versus finding out through the grapevine, you know? It should have been put out more publicly than what it was, especially for neighbors right around here that might be affected by it," said Brad Hunsicker of Towamensing Township.

One homeowner realized there was a problem when her cats wouldn't drink the water. That raises concerns for Jeanine Reiss as well.

"My daughter is 13, and we have two dogs, and just the safety and well-being of our own health," said Jeanine Reiss of Towamensing Township.

The owner of the gas station was not available to speak with Newswatch 16.

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