Service stations often have gasoline spills caused by leaks in the underground service tanks, overfilling by the customers, or pump islands. Gasoline contains harsh chemicals and carcinogens, like Benzene, that will contaminate the groundwater. Certain bacteria, however, use Benzene as a food source, but without oxygen in the groundwater, the bacteria cannot thrive. Gas stations have monitoring wells to keep track of possible contamination at the site, and can see how far the polluted water spreads beneath the ground.
Air sparging is a groundwater contamination remediation strategy that injects oxygen into the groundwater, allowing these bacteria to feed on the oil, in turn, ridding the groundwater of the oil contamination. This tactic gives us a solution to maintaining clean groundwater in service stations, which are notorious for their contamination.
This is essential as groundwater makes up 95% of our nation’s freshwater, and is what half the nation ingests on a daily basis.
When pumping your gas at a service station, be sure to follow the safety measures posted on the pumps. This will not only ensure your immediate safety but preventing gasoline spills will help keep our groundwater clean and free of contaminants such as Benzene.