City files suit over leaking abandoned gas station
Updated: April 29, 2013 9:56AM
Evanston is taking oil company Chevron to court to try to force the corporation to clean up an abandoned gas station in the northern suburb where contaminants are allegedly leaking into the soil and groundwater.
The city claims contaminants are leaking from large underground tanks at a gas station at the northwest corner of Church and Darrow streets in Evanston, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District court. It was formerly run as a Texaco station but closed in the late ’90s.
Evanston claims petroleum, gasoline and other “hazardous” chemical byproducts – including some substances either known or suspected of causing cancer in humans – are entering the soil and groundwater under the station.
Authorities knew about the problem as early as 2000, when the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshall found at least two of the tanks had been abandoned improperly and were leaking near a sewer, according to a report filed with the suit.
The city hired an environmental consultant to investigate the site in 2012, and allegedly found five out of six soil samples had contaminant levels above state environmental regulations, the suit said.
Two 2,000-gallon tanks still filled with water and gasoline, and two other 3,000-gallon storage tanks were filled with sand as of the 2012 investigation, the suit says.
That same report found contamination from the property had spread east and southeast toward Church and Darrow streets – and possibly to other neighboring properties.
Lawyers for the city think at least some of the tanks were abandoned in the 1960s when Texaco – now owned by Chevron -- ran the gas station.
A message with Chevron USA – which now owns Texaco – was not returned Tuesday evening.
Wednesday’s lawsuit seeks an injunction forcing Chevron to clean up the site, and finding the company liable for the contamination.
The suit also seeks an unspecified amount in punitive damages from Chevron Chevron and site owner E-Town, an Illinois limited liability company, for allegedly violating various city ordinances.~.