Files Environmental Lawsuits Naming
Attorney General Tom Miller filed two lawsuits today on behalf of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources against Wunschel Oil Co., Vernus Wunschel, and Jacquelyn Wunschel of Ida Grove. The suits allege environmental violations at former gas station sites at Ida Grove and Battle Creek, both in Ida County. The suits were filed in Ida County District Court.
One suit seeks temporary and permanent injunctions in order to abate or remove an alleged hazardous condition and public nuisance at a Wunschel service station and bulk plant located in Ida Grove. The suit alleges that there exists up to ten feet of "free product" (undissolved petroleum) in the groundwater at the site, and that Wunschels have refused access for the State to operate its remediation system for removal of the contamination.
The suit further alleges that the petroleum contamination potentially endangers the nearby Ida Grove city drinking water well. If the petroleum product were to migrate and break through a clay soil layer under the site, the suit alleges, the product could be drawn into one of the city's drinking water wells.
The second lawsuit seeks civil penalties and injunctive relief arising from Wunschels' alleged failure to complete a site assessment at a former Wunschel gasoline station located in Battle Creek, Iowa. The site included several underground storage tanks which have since been removed and permanently closed.
The suit alleges that
petroleum contamination was detected at the site above normal action levels
in 1997. The suit further alleges that Wunschels have refused to complete
a required site assessment to determine whether further assessment or
remediation is required. Despite additional requests, including one as
recently as June 16, Wunschels have failed to comply.
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