3 years after leak residents complain of odor - WNEM TV 5

3 years after leak residents complain of odor

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
LINDEN, MI (WNEM) -

Neighbors are complaining after a leak years ago continues to flow into a local river and leave an overbearing odor in their small Mid-Michigan town.

Locals said they are fighting to get their town's gas station to clean up the mess after fuel leaked into the groundwater more than three years ago.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said there is only so much they can do about it.

"I know that today there's been a heavy scent of gasoline by the bridge," said Jim Lengel, Linden business owner.

He and others are concerned about what's coming from the Beacon and Bridge Market gas station.

One business owner said he believes contaminants flowing from the gas station are being collected and cleaned by the pumps in his basement.

The DEQ maintains there's no threat to the community, but they did confirm the contaminants from the gas station are leaking into the ground water and into the Shiawassee River.

"Anytime you have any kind of spill into the river it affects the wetlands and the wildlife and the fish," Lengel said.

TV5 obtained documents from the DEQ that confirm the state has been working with the gas station to clean up a leak from one of the station's underground storage tanks since 2014.

The DEQ said the company is currently out of compliance after failing to meet its reporting requirements.

"I guess after three years I'm curious as to what Beacon and Bridge has done and you know how far along the DEQ has taken them," Lengel said.

The DEQ said it doesn't currently have authority to shut down a business for being non-compliant in cases like this. An amendment passed by the Michigan legislature in 2012 took that power away.

Residents said there are days they can smell the contaminants in the river. Lengel said it's a problem that has no end in sight.

"It just seems like it's continuing," Lengel said.

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