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Lander seepage

A state response contractor installs floating containment devices to deal with a gasoline contamination at the Middle Fork Popo Agie River earlier this month.

A Lander gas station has been cited for contaminating the Popo Agie River with gasoline, the Department of Environmental Quality decided Friday.

The Maverik Country Store overfilled its underground gasoline storage tanks, causing the fuel to migrate to the river banks, according to the Department of Environmental Quality. The department filed a notice of violation Friday afternoon against Maverik Inc. for failing to make repairs that would prevent overfilling its underground tanks.

Locals first noticed gas fumes from the river as it flowed through town earlier this month and responders located sheen on the surface of the river. Local, state and federal officials have spent the last few weeks investigating, containing the gasoline seeps and attempting to limit further pollution of the stream in downtown Lander.

Previous concerns had been raised regarding Maverik’s storage tanks being placed so close to the water, and local frustration has blossomed following the river’s contamination.

But until Friday, it was unconfirmed that the gasoline had come from the gas station tanks.

A response team from the Environmental Protection Agency has been constructing a concrete barrier to contain the two identified seeps. The Department of Environmental Quality has been leading the investigation into the cause of the contamination.

The department has issued a delivery prohibition order, meaning the station cannot fill those tanks. The station must make repairs on the underground tanks, that first must be approved by the department. The “red tag order” preventing delivery to the tanks will be lifted when state regulators have inspected and approved repairs to the tanks.

The company has 10 days to appeal by petitioning for a hearing before the Environmental Quality Council — a volunteer board appointed by the governor and approved by the Wyoming Senate that oversees contested environmental cases.

Calls to a Department of Environmental Quality spokesman and the onsite coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency were not returned by Friday evening.

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Energy Reporter

Heather Richards writes about energy and the environment. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, she moved to Wyoming in 2015 to cover natural resources and government in Buffalo. Heather joined the Star Tribune later that year.

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