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Cheney gas station leak contaminates Minnie Creek

Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel have leaked from a gas station in Cheney into a creek. State officials say they are investigating the cause, and there is currently no danger to humans.

Last week the Cheney Fire Department noticed signs of contamination in Minnie Creek, which runs on the eastern side of Cheney. The gas station, and creek, are near a mobile home park as well as fast food, and industrial businesses. The fire department reported their concerns to the Washington State Department of Ecology, which investigated the area for potential spills or dumping.

Ty Keltner, communications manager for the department of ecology’s spills program, said the agency found the creek had been contaminated by red dye diesel. The leak was traced back to an underground fuel tank at a nearby Chevron gas station.

He said the spill traveled to a culvert, and then to the creek. So far, the agency and contractors have removed about 30,000 gallons of the oil, water mixture from both the creek and the vault at the gas station. He said they have also began removing contaminated soil.

Keltner said the agency does not yet know how long diesel has been leaking into the creek.

“That's one thing that we want to uncover is how long this spill has been going on for, but really right now, the focus is on getting it cleaned up,” Keltner said. “We want to make sure the source of the spill is stopped, and the immediate impact to the environment is taken care of. And, there will be a full investigation into the origin of the spill.”

He said there is no signs that the fuel has leaked into the sewer system, or drinking water sources. He said there also have been no reported impacts to wildlife.

This story is evolving and will be updated as more information comes in.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.