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Environmental Pollution
RISKS
Environmental Pollution
EXPOSURE

Gas Stations Pollution

Gas stations are found everywhere. They are so common and necessary, as they became an integral part of our daily lives. Thus, it is no wonder that they are not usually associated with environmental and health risk and, even less to home pollution. For example, have you asked yourself: “Is my home or the house I intend to buy close to a gas station?” Is the proximity to a gas station an excluding criteria for house shopping? Well, it may be! The following paragraphs should help you decide by yourself.

Below are presented, in brief, the main and sometimes severe pollution problems associated with gas stations along with the subsequent health, environmental, and home pollution risks. Additionally, due to importance and practical relevance, prevention and cost recovery issues are first discussed.

Prevention and Cost Recovery

  • Personal damage. From the perspective of the public, the best prevention is to spend as little time as possible at a gas station and avoid living close to a gas station (e.g., 1 block or less). However, if this is not possible or if the exposure has already occurred (e.g., you live within 1 block of a gas station or are employed at a convenience store) you may be entitled to compensation. Evaluate your pollution case now!
  • Property damage. From the perspective of gas station owners and/or operators, usually the insurance company may pay for pollution damage. However, not all pollution cases are straightforward and the insurance may try to avoid paying whenever possible. Gas station pollution liability is complex and legal advice is recommended. If you are operating or owning a gas station with pollution problems please make sure and proceed with a pollution evaluation.

Gas Station Pollution Release

Pollution released at gas stations is mainly due to the following (please click on each to find out more):

Gas Station Contaminants

The usual contaminants released in the environment from gas stations are represented by the stored and sold petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel. These are complex mixtures of volatile organic compounds (mainly hydrocarbons) and a series of additives which are blended with petroleum distillates to improve the quality of final products and their usability. While there are hundreds of individual compounds associated with gasoline and diesel fuel (many of which are not even identified), the main compounds raising pollution problems associated with gas stations are the following (please click on each of these contaminants to find out more about each chemical and associated health issues):

  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Ethylbeneze
  • Xylenes
  • Pb
  • MTBE
  • Ethylene dichloride (EDC)
  • Naphthalene

Overview

  • On the positive side - currently, better equipment and improved operation practices along with improved awareness of various pollution risks allow a more optimistic view of gas stations as integral part of urban environments with less pollution risks. Additionally, gas station pollution penalties and fines exist and are evolving insuring overall considerable less spills.
  • On the negative side - almost a century of operation (of some stations) left a legacy of petroleum pollution (of soil and groundwater) that is found through current time and may extend few blocks away from the station. Additionally, the current economic difficulties seem to affect the implementation enforcement of some environmental-safe measures at gas stations. For example, California, one of the leading states on environmental regulations, is facing a proposal to temporarily suspended the state rules requiring gas station owners to install costly pollution control equipment. The proposal addresses the requirement to install vapor-control nozzles, which will be postponed 1 year (till 2010) in order to avoid negative impacts on state economy and gas prices. In this context, gas stations are repeatedly cited for air pollution. For example, according to a July 2006 article from San Diego (see SignOnSanDiego.com), only in San Diego county approximately 1.3 billion gallons of gasoline are pumped into vehicles each year at more than 900 gas stations, while 800 tons of vapor escape into the atmosphere each year.