MDE says gas leak may have started in Jan.

A review of records shows that the leak of thousands of gallons of gasoline at a Jacksonville service station may have started more than a month ago, a state environment official said yesterday.

Herb Meade, a program administrator for the oil control program for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said records showed that the gasoline leak at the Exxon station near the intersection of Jarrettsville Pike and Paper Mill and Sweet Air roads, appeared to have begun Jan 12. About 25,000 gallons of gasoline have leaked from a regular unleaded gasoline line there, officials have said.

"It was pretty clear to MDE upon our review of the inventory records at the Exxon station that there was a period of time when you could see the station operating normally," Meade said. "And then there was a date where problems started."

Meade said the leak appears to have begun after a contractor performed maintenance on an underground storage tank system. He said a contractor, believed to have been drilling a hole into the wall of the storage system's sump, drilled a hole, about the diameter of a pencil, into an underground pipe.

Meade said the layout of the pipe system might have made it difficult for the contractor to know where he was drilling. He said the department would investigate to see whether underground pipes at the service station were installed too closely together.

Exxon notified state environmental officials of the leak Friday, according to MDE.

Betsy Eaton, a spokeswoman for ExxonMobil, said that MDE was notified when the oil company became aware of the leak.

"We are doing an investigation to look at all of the things that happened and occurred between January and February," Eaton said.

Eaton said Jacksonville residents with questions may call 1-877-346-0302. She said that by noon yesterday, 3,287 gallons of gasoline had been recovered.

Nick Shields


Planning series resumes Sunday

A county economic development official is scheduled to speak to North County Preservation Inc., a nonprofit group that looks at planning issues in the rural, northern part of Baltimore County, as part of a monthly series that began in January.

Chris McCollum is scheduled to talk about the future of development north of Shawan Road at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The meeting is at 910 Maplehurst Lane, Monkton. Information: 410-357-5982.


Panel discussion on open meetings

The League of Women Voters of Baltimore County will hold a panel discussion on whether local councils, boards, commissions and subcommittees are adhering to the Maryland Open Meetings Law.

The discussion will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 14 at the Cockeysville Library, 9833 Greenside Drive. The session is open to the public at no charge.

The League of Women Voters of America and the American Library Association are holding "Sunshine Week" events across the country. The focus of this year's events is the importance of public meetings and open government, said Marcia Reinke, co-president of the Baltimore County league. Information: 410-377-8046.

Concert set March 10 at senior center

Two musicians representing the Piatigorsky Foundation in New York City will perform in concert at 1 p.m. March 10 at the Catonsville Senior Center, 501 N. Rolling Road.

Pianist David Shimoni, a graduate of Juilliard, has performed in Canada, Italy and Spain, and has given solo piano recitals in major cities throughout the United States. Soprano Raquela Sheeran, whose repertoire includes opera, recital and concert, has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and completed her training at Juilliard's Opera Center.

The concert is free. A wine-and-cheese reception will follow the performance. Information: 410-887-0900.

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