Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Gasoline-Tainted Groundwater Causes Evacuation of Pennsylvania Homes

apgasoder

SKIPPACK, Pa. (AP) — Gasoline-tainted groundwater caused the mysterious smell that led to a voluntary evacuation of more than 150 homes in suburban Philadelphia, authorities said Monday.

The noxious odor primarily affected three townhouses in Skippack after contaminated water got into the sump pumps, officials said. Firefighters were flushing those pumps with fresh water and airing out the homes with fans on Monday evening.

"We're relieved and hopeful that what they're doing will fix it," said resident Kourtnay Loughin, who called 911 about the "very, very unpleasant" smell on Sunday evening.

Officials don't know how the gas got into the groundwater, but Fire Chief Haydn Marriott said residents' health was not in danger. He also noted the substance was found in a system with sealed pipes, creating little chance of contamination to the surrounding area's water supply.

Firefighters and environmental officials used sensors Sunday night to try to identify the problem. Residents of more than 150 townhouses were asked to leave after chemical odors were detected at several units.

Metered equipment originally indicated the presence of hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas, in the homes, but officials later said those readings were false positives. No signs of illness were reported.

By Monday morning, Marriott said authorities had determined sump pumps as the source of the smell, but could not identify its composition. As labs began analyzing samples, officials retested some houses and allowed owners to return after finding no danger.

Loughin's unit and the two next door registered high levels of the chemical odor.

"It's more of an annoyance than anything," Marriott said.

Readings in 25 other units Monday found "negligible" levels of chemicals, likely attributable to common household items, he said. The rest of the townhomes had no detectable chemical compounds.

Marriott said his department spoke to the water authority several times Sunday. "They assured us that there was no problem with the water, that they were going to take care of the testing on their end," he said.

Officials plan to monitor the affected homes in the coming days.

___

Follow Kathy Matheson at www.twitter.com/kmatheson

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



RELATED ARTICLES

More Rural Hospitals Closing

A growing number of facilities across the country face growing difficulties.

Milwaukee Launches Community Paramedic Program

Pilot program with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee looks at follow-up care.

Cherokee Nation EMS Paramedic Training Named Top in Industry

Program is first and only tribe to receive accreditation from Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Colorado Residents to Benefit in Ambulance Contract Split

Change in contract for Colorado Springs is seen a way for faster response times and increased funds.

FDNY Graduates Over 100 New EMTs

Seven foreign languages are spoken among the new personnel.

Teen Rescued Five Days after Nepal Quake

Victim pulled from rubble of seven-story building.

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers