HORRY COUNTY S.C. (WBTW) — Five years after a Myrtle Beach gas station reported it had a gas leak, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has still not determined what impact the incident had on the environment.

Express Mart, located at 2620 S. Kings Hwy, is owned by North Pole Investments Inc., according to DHEC.

North Pole Investments Inc. submitted a groundwater assessment in May 2019, but DHEC requested an additional sample because of quality assurance deficiencies within the initial groundwater assessment.

A groundwater assessment is designed to help better understand and identify risks to groundwater resources.

DHEC had the gas station’s owner sign an order this February requiring they provide the additional sampling report within 45 days, as well as pay a $2,345 fine.

The company did not send the report, leading DHEC to send a demand letter on April 19.  North Pole Investments  did not respond to the demand letter and DHEC would eventually file a complaint seeking enforcement of the order on July 5.

An oil and fuel analyzer for Exxon Mobile, Bruce Cornelius, said a petroleum leak can be deadly and damage the environment in many ways, including the physical damages that directly impact wildlife and their habitats and poison the soil making it a hazardous waste. 

“You are looking at a very serious situation because the soil where it was leaking has become a hazardous waste you can’t not build anything on it. can’t build anything there for people to live on,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius said petroleum gas can leave a deadly impact for people and animals.

“If you’re a human and you are breathing in that gas it can affect your blood system and cause problems in your bone marrow leading to severe complications” Cornelius said.

DEHC said in a statement to News13 that “The goal is to determine nature, extent and severity of the petroleum contamination from USTs in soils, sediments and groundwater and associated exposure pathways.”

News13 attempted to speak with the manager at Express Mart, but he was unavailable. An employee said they are working things out with DHEC and asked to be left alone.

DHEC said the gas station has not sent in the additional groundwater assessment or the $2,345 fine.