Calgary gas station ordered to address leaks

Gas Plus has been ordered to clean up one of its gas stations in northwest Calgary, after thousands of litres of gasoline escaped from the site.
This Gas Plus in northwest Calgary is the subject of an environmental protection order issued by the province on Tuesday. ((CBC))

Gas Plus has been ordered to clean up one of its gas stations in northwest Calgary.

The Alberta government has issued an environmental protection order against the fuel service company.

Last May, the company was asked to deal with a fuel leak at a Gas Plus in Bowness.

In August, Alberta Environment was notified that gas vapours were detected in the basement of a home adjacent to the site, the government said in a news release issued Tuesday.

Gas Plus told the government that about 7,000 to 9,000 litres of gas had been released from the site over a period of several months.

In September, the company was told to take immediate action to reduce the gas vapours in the neighbouring home and provide a plan for the site. Neither of those things has happened, the province said.

Neighbours are complaining of feeling ill and of gas smells in their basements.

Melinda Hillier and her husband, who live just behind Gas Plus, said they've been smelling gas for months. 

"It's scary, because they're talking about water and everything. We drink the tap water. And we've got three little boys here, and now that we're smelling the smell in the basement, it's concerning because of our kids," Hillier said.

Gas Plus acting responsibly: president

Gas Plus Inc. president Sal Handel said the order was concerning, but "a little bit off the mark."

"They make a bit of an implication there that we didn't react promptly. That is incorrect," Handel said. "We acted immediately. Within hours after we were aware of the leak we put the vapour extraction on … we did act responsibly and still are today."

Handel suggested that what the neighbours are smelling could be the vapour extraction units' exhaust.

The environmental protection order requires the company to immediately mitigate "any identified impacts" on adjacent residences.

Gas Plus will also have to provide the province with a plan to control the contamination and implement remedial actions by March.

Handel said they would abide by the order, but cautioned that it could take two or three years for the problem to be completely taken care of.