Cleveland Ave. and East 31st St.
Kansas City, Missouri
Jackson County

One of the department's roles is to investigate concerns regarding petroleum releases. This webpage includes information related to petroleum odors reported both outside and inside homes and businesses in the area of Cleveland Ave. and E. 31st St. in Kansas City, Missouri. The department's Environmental Emergency Response (EER) staff responded to three incidents in the area between 2006 and 2015. For general questions regarding the site, please contact the department’s Environmental Remediation Program, Underground Storage Tanks Section

If any area residents or businesses detect petroleum odors in their home or neighborhood, please 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.

For general information about UST cleanups and closures, visit the department's Regulated Storage Tank Cleanup and Closure webpage. 

EER Response Incidents

April 4, 2006

The department was notified of petroleum vapors in at least two private residences in the area 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. It was determined that petroleum-impacted groundwater 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 move into a dead end residential sewer line 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 area that was considered to be the likely source. 

During the emergency phase, the department directed extensive repairs to the sewer line to prevent the petroleum from entering the affected sewer main, thereby eliminating the risk of petroleum vapors in homes. Once the repairs were complete and the petroleum intrusion into the sewer main stopped, the emergency ended. The site was referred to the department’s Environmental Remediation Program, Tanks section, to oversee the investigation and source removal. For more information about the investigation and cleanup, visit the department's Zill LLC Property  webpage.

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 and 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. The solvent did not come 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.

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, which allowed petroleum to flow into the sewer main and vapors to move into the building drains of the five properties serviced by the sewer line.

On Jan. 30, 2015, the department’s EER staff issued a Hazardous Substance Emergency Declaration to the likely responsible party. The declaration 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
  • Installing 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 also ensured the likely responsible party arranged for off-site lodging for those residents being impacted by petroleum vapors entering their homes.

Current Progress

Timeline of Events

  • July 2006: While conditions clearly improved following the 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 quick progress, the department intervened with its own contractors and made the additional repairs to the sewer connection. 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 .
  • 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. The 2015 Enhanced Fluid Recovery Results were submitted to the department.
  • December 2015: The sewer main and all private sewer connections between 3001 and 3023 Cleveland Ave. were inspected with a video camera to evaluate the integrity of all the connections. 
  • Jan. 13-14, 2016: Zill’s contractor conducted free product recovery activities using high vacuum extraction equipment. The 2016 Enhanced Fluid Recovery Results were submitted to the department the following week.    

Next Steps

The department will continue overseeing the work conducted by Zill and its 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 Environmental Remediation Program, Tanks section, for continued oversight of the cleanup efforts.