Question: How can gasoline enter my well water?
Answer: Over the past fifty years, many buried gasoline tanks have been abandoned or not properly monitored and are now leaking gasoline into the environment. Unfortunately, once gasoline or fuel oil is lost from the tank into the environment it can travel through the ground for long distances and can cause well water problems for many years. It is very important that underground tanks not be abandoned with product in them since they will invariably corrode through and contaminate wells.
Question: If gasoline or other fuel contamination is a concern, for what should I test?
Answer: For suspected gasoline contamination you should test for VOCs plus Oxygenates. VOCs stands Volatile Organic Compounds. Oxygenates are organic compounds that are added to gasoline as octane enhancers. Some of the major components of gasoline can be detected in this scan. Napthalene is a component present in fuel oil and is included in this scan. Its presence or absence can be used to differentiate between gasoline and fuel oil contamination problems.
If you suspect that your water supply is being contaminated by a leaking underground storage tank, you may want to contact the Maryland Department of Environment, Oil Control Progam at 1-800-633-6101 or 1-410-537-3442.
Photo Credit: Egor Myznik