State orders Palm Beach Gardens gas station to stop selling gasoline after reports of contamination

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - The state of Florida has ordered a Palm Beach Gardens gas station to stop the sale of gasoline because of apparent contamination.

The gas station, a Sunoco in the 9700 block of Lighthouse Drive, is the second in Palm Beach Gardens the state has ordered to stop selling gas in as many months.

"Sometimes, we try to look for a cheaper price in the gas, and this is the result," said Patricia Merritt, a Palm Beach Gardens resident who said her car was damaged after she filled it up at the gas station.

Mechanics at Mercedes-Benz North Palm Beach said the gasoline in her car appeared to have water in it.

A spokesperson for Sunoco said the gas station was independently owned and the problem appeared to be with the gas station's gasoline supplier.

Jordan Camarena, shop foreman at Mercedes-Benz of North Palm Beach, said the problem appeared to have spiked in recent months.

"Anything that the fuel has touched needs to be replaced," Camarena said. "On the lower end, you can have something like a random misfire,"

In May, the Contact 5 Investigators discovered 14 pumps at area gas stations had been shut down in 2011 because of bad gasoline samples.

Click here to view the full Contact 5 investigation including interactive maps with the latest inspection results for stations in our area . bitly link: http://bit.ly/LG1jj6

Fourteen other gas station hadn't been inspected in more than a year.

A week later, a brine solution in a gas tank was blamed for damaging cars at  a different Palm Beach Gardens gas station .

"It's a big problem," said Merritt, whose repair cost $5,000.

"When these things happen," she asked, "how can we trust in the gas station in our town?"

The State of Florida said it stopped the Sunoco from selling gasoline on Wednesday because of possible water contamination.

A test of new gasoline showed it had been contaminated with sediment.

Investigative Producer  Lynn Walsh  contributed to this report.

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