Public Works director: City water safe after gas spill
Four municipal wells in Apple Valley remain shut down as a precaution
by Andrew Miller
The February fuel spill at Magellan tank farm in Apple Valley has not contaminated the municipal water supply, the city’s top Public Works official said Tuesday.
Cleanup efforts are under way at the privately owned tank farm at County Road 42 and Flagstaff Avenue, where an estimated 63,000-gallon gas leak was discovered Feb. 14.
“63,000 gallons spilled – we take that very seriously,” said Public Works Director Todd Blomstrom, “but in terms of a public health concern with the municipal water supply, that is not an issue.”
With oversight from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Magellan is using a soil vapor extraction system – a pump that sucks air from the ground – to clean up the fuel that seeped into the soil.
Apple Valley officials shut down four municipal wells in the wake of the spill as a precaution. Those wells were still shut down as of this week, Blomstrom said.
In terms of water supply to residents, “we have 19 municipal wells. In the winter, we can easily operate on four. To pull those wells offline really is just a flip of the switch,” he said.
The Minnesota Department of Health has taken water samples from the wells, though Blomstrom said the motivating factor behind the shutdown of the wells was to alleviate public concern, not because of contamination.
“There’s certainly not gasoline going to be showing up in municipal wells,” he said.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimated that the spilled fuel had gone as deep as 40 feet below the ground, according to a March 3 Star Tribune report. The groundwater supply begins about 70 feet below the surface, and the nearest municipal well is 500 feet deep.
Andrew Miller is at firstname.lastname@example.org.