Environmental Emergency Response to Petroleum Contamination Complaints

This website includes information related to petroleum contamination that impacted properties north of the intersection of Cleveland Ave. and East 31st St. in Kansas City, Mo. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Environmental Emergency Response (EER)staff responded to three incidents in the area between 2006, 2014 and 2015. If any residents or businesses detect petroleum odors, they may contact the department’s 24-hour spill line at 573-634-2436. When reporting a petroleum odor, please provide the address or approximate location of the odor and any potential sources observed. 

2006 Environmental Emergency Response Incident

April 4, 2006 - the department was notified of petroleum vapors in at least two private residences in the vicinity of Cleveland Ave. and East 31st St.. The department's EER staff responded to the site and worked with the local fire department and Kansas City Water Services personnel to determine that a groundwater/petroleum mixture entered the sewer main at a joint in the line, near Cleveland Ave. and East 31st St. The break in the sewer line allowed petroleum vapors to migrate into residential sewer lines on the east side of Cleveland Ave., north of East 31st St. Efforts to identify a source were not conclusive, though, there was a service station located in the vicinity that was considered to be the likely source. 

During the emergency phase in April 2006, the department directed repairs to line the sewer main. Once the repairs were completed and the petroleum intrusion into the sewer main stopped, the emergency ended. The site was redirected to the department’s tanks unit for oversight of site characterization and source removal.

Learn more about this site and the department's investigation at the Zill property.

2014 Environmental Emergency Response Incident

Nov. 11, 2014 - the department was notified of potential petroleum vapors inside a business that was undergoing renovations located at the intersection of Cleveland Ave. and East 31st St. The department's EER staff conducted an investigation. During the investigation, the department determined the building was on a different sewer line than the portion that was repaired in 2006. Staff observed a non-petroleum solvent in a newly installed grease trap within the building, which did not originate from the sewer main and appeared to be the contributing factor for the odors. No indications were found to associate this event with the 2006 incident.

2015 Environmental Emergency Response Incident

Jan. 22, 2015 - the department was notified of petroleum vapors impacting at least two private residences and a church located on the east side of Cleveland Ave. and north of East 31st St. The residences were the same as those affected in 2006. The department's EER staff worked with Kansas City Water Services personnel to conduct an investigation. With the assistance of the city’s sewer camera, video surveillance revealed a broken lateral sewer line allowed petroleum to flow into the sewer main and vapors migrated into the building drains of the five properties that are serviced by the sewer line.

The department’s EER staff subsequently issued a Hazardous Substance Emergency Declaration on Jan. 30, 2015, to the likely responsible party and directed several actions be undertaken to address the petroleum contamination. 

Directives issued and completed over the following weeks included:

  • Removing odors entering the residences and church by repairing sewer connections
  • Installing plumbing upgrades in the affected buildings
  • Conducting exploratory excavations to locate the petroleum contamination in the subsurface
  • Installation of multiple groundwater monitoring and recovery wells
  • Recovering petroleum and vapors on regular intervals from groundwater wells
  • Repairing the city’s main sewer line along Cleveland Ave.

The department ensured the likely responsible party arranged for off-site lodging for those residents being impacted by petroleum vapors entering their homes.

Current Progress

While conditions clearly improved following repairs made by the department and Zill’s contractor, the department continued to receive intermittent reports of vapors in the residences. Due to the ongoing complaints, questions regarding additional potential sources of the petroleum and lack of expedited progress, the department intervened with its own contractors and made the additional repairs to the sewer connection to address the situation. The earlier repairs were shown to not be effective, which prompted the department to replace the entire lateral sewer line. This work was completed in July.

In November 2015, the department made additional repairs to an area of the sewer that was allowing petroleum-impacted water to enter. The department also oversaw free product recovery activities performed by Zill’s contractor.

In December 2015, the sewer main and all private sewer connections were inspected with a video camera between 3001 and 3023 Cleveland Ave. to evaluate the integrity of all the connections. 

On Jan. 13 and 14, 2016, Zill’s contractor conducted free product recovery activities using high vacuum extraction equipment. A link to the report on these activities is provided on the previous webpage under Data and Reports.    

The department will continue overseeing the work conducted by Zill and Zill’s contractor to address the petroleum vapor issues that have affected homes and businesses located along Cleveland Ave. and East 31st St. Once the problems have been adequately addressed and the requirements of the Hazardous Substance Emergency Declaration have been met, the site will be transferred from the department's EER unit to the department’s underground tanks remedial unit for continued oversight of remedial efforts.

For More Information

All general questions regarding the site may be directed to the department at 800-361-4827.

Return to the Cleveland Avenue and East 31st Street Investigation Main Site