Amoco might be penalized for leak Workers continue to clean site of gas spill near Towson

June 26, 1998|By Jamie Smith | Jamie Smith,SUN STAFF

As merchants counted their losses yesterday, Amoco officials -- faced with possible penalties by the state -- continued to mop up after a large gasoline leak that shut down three shopping centers in the Hillendale area, closed roads and forced the evacuation of dozens of residents.

"There's the possibility of enforcement action against Amoco or whoever is determined to be the responsible party," said Quentin W. Banks, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Banks could provide no estimate of the cleanup cost. He said Amoco has agreed to pay the contractor that removed gasoline from the area.

Surrounded by trucks and machinery, workers at the Amoco station at Loch Raven Boulevard and Taylor Avenue yesterday pumped out watery gas that had seeped into an underground containment area -- part of a 4,000-gallon leak Wednesday that also flowed into storm drains and Herring Run.

"The emergency situation is over," Banks said. "Now we have to figure out what happened and what we can do to keep it from happening again."

By yesterday afternoon, 3,200 gallons of gas had been recovered, according to Amoco spokesman Gary Shute, who said he didn't know how long the cleanup would last.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to do the job and get it done right," he said, giving no indication when the station -- roped off by yellow tape yesterday -- would reopen.

State and local officials were notified about the gas leak by Amoco early Wednesday morning. Calling the situation potentially explosive, authorities evacuated dozens of residents from a section of Glenmont Apartments on Lachlan Circle, near the Amoco station.

Businesses in three of the surrounding shopping centers were not allowed to open until late Wednesday afternoon.

Yesterday, monitors in the area showed no indication of gasoline in liquid or vapor form except on station property, Banks said.

The approximately 800 gallons of gas unaccounted for might have soaked into the ground or worked its way into Herring Run through storm drains, Banks said. At that point, "it's unrecoverable," he said. "We're never going to see it again."

Businesses said the same thing about the money they could have made Wednesday.

At least one wants to be reimbursed. John Geppi, manager of Giorgio's Restaurant & Carryout in Hillendale Shopping Center, said he planned to seek from Amoco the approximately $3,500 he claims he lost in business and in spoiled shrimp, which had been left out overnight to thaw and sat unrefrigerated until the afternoon.

Across the road at Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts in Loch Raven Plaza, employees were noticing another lingering effect of the gasoline leak.

"You can smell it -- you can smell it for miles," said Lillian Long, a sales associate.

Pub Date: 6/26/98

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