Sunset Drive Sewer Gasoline Spill

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

Thursday, 11/01/07 5:00 pm

Ecology and the City of Bellingham responded to gasoline odors in a storm drain and high vapor concentrations at a gas station along E. Sunset Drive. It is not known whether this is related to this incident. Please see Sunset Drive Storm Drain Spill.

Wednesday, 10/31/07 10:00 am

Ecology’s Underground Storage Tank Unit ordered the Shell and Chevron service stations to take underground soil samples as part of the investigation to determine the source of the gasoline leak at Sunset Drive.

The City of Bellingham continues to monitor vapors in the surrounding area. Local officials have determined that vapor readings range from no explosive vapors to concentrations well below explosive levels. 

Wednesday, 10/17/07 12:01pm

The City of Bellingham and Department of Ecology sealed off the out-of-service sewer main along E. Sunset Drive. They sealed off the sewer to prevent vapors from rising to the surface and potentially finding an ignition source.   Ecology’s Underground Storage Tank Unit has begun an investigation to determine the source of the gasoline found in the E. Sunset Drive out-of-service sewer line.  The city received a report of gasoline in water from a storm drain outfall to Squalicum Creek, near Woodstock Way and James Street, nearby.  Given the close proximity of the two incidents, Ecology’s investigation will explore whether they are related.

Monitoring will continue to ensure that vapors are not escaping the two-block sewer line. Ecology will continue efforts to determine the amount of gasoline, where it came from and how it entered the sewer line.

Monday, 10/15/07 22:16pm

The presence of gasoline is confirmed.

Dye testing of adjacent sewer connections is in progress to verify that no services are connected to the line in question.

Thursday, 10/11/07 19:06pm

Local and state officials from the Washington State Department of Ecology worked together to establish the identity and source of the material, and concluded that the pipe is stable and poses little risk to motorists and residents of the area.

Public safety officials closed Sunset Drive between I-5 and Orleans Street between 10pm and midnight on Thursday night.

Thursday, 10/11/07 13:10pm

City of Bellingham Public Works, Fire and Police personnel worked to isolate and mitigate a leak of flammable liquid in an inactive section of sewer pipe in the Sunset Square Mall area. The section of pipe is located under Sunset Drive between James Street Road and Orleans Street.

Repeated readings indicate the presence of a significant amount of flammable vapors only in that immediate area. The amount of flammable product and how it entered the pipe is unknown.




City of Bellingham Public Works employees seal the inactive Sunset Drive sewer line with concrete to prevent any gas vapors from escaping.

Photo by Carl Andersen, Lead Spill Responder, Bellingham Field Office, Department of Ecology.

The application of AFFF (fire-fighting foam) reduces gas vapor levels to a safer level.  Ecology photo by Carl Andersen.


Date of Incident:
October 11, 2007

E. Sunset Dr. in Bellingham

Gas and associated vapors

Under investigation

Responsible Party: