Contaminated gas concerns investigated in Palm Beach County
5:57 PM, Jan 14, 2014
9:46 AM, Jan 16, 2014
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - There may be contaminated fuel at two more gas stations. The Sunoco station at Ocean and Dixie Highway discovered the problem Sunday and shut off the pumps immediately.
The owner of the gas station, Mehdi Najmabadi, said he's heard from four to six drivers who had issues.
The Sunoco station showed us repair bills from customers. He is working with his insurance company to take care of the damage. Cars began sputtering after the driver filled up the tank, and some contaminant made it through the fuel line. The station took a sample of gas from the pump and it shows black debris in it.
While there was flooding near the station last week, the owner does not believe that's the source of the problem.
"Water not make sense. If I had water why Friday do I pump gas? Why Saturday do I pump gas," questioned Najmabadi.
Despite the flooding, the owner said he didn't have any complaints until he got a fresh batch of fuel on Sunday.
"Sunday morning at 6 a.m. I got a load. By 12 o'clock I had a problem. That's why I stopped," said Najmabadi.
It's not the only station that had to stop fuel sales.
A driver complained to the Department of Agriculture, the state agency that oversees gas stations, about Gasland near Atlantic and Military Trail in Delray Beach.
"I found contamination in their regular. Something that made it not clear," said Mike Madison, Consumer Protection Specialist with the Florida Department of Agriculture.
The pumps failed a visual state inspection, and a state lab will confirm if there is contamination.
An employee said they stopped selling gas over the weekend when the safety system alerted them to a problem. Late Tuesday afternoon, an independent company was on site testing the system to find the source of the problem.
Readings show there is no water in the pump.
"There are so many variables. That's why we only check fuel at the dispenser," said Madison.
The Department of Agriculture will not test samples from cars because that's not a pure source. Madison said that's why they need consumers to call when they suspect a problem. You can report an issue online or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA.
The pumps are back open for business at the Lantana Sunoco after the owner had a company remove the bad gas and clean the lines.
"The problem I think is the port. Someone made a mistake and they bring it here," said Najmabadi.
At this time, it's unclear if all these complaints are related. The gas stations are conducting their own investigations.