Department of Ecology News Release - June 18, 2024

Ecology orders Walla Walla station owner to continue work to protect community from gas spill

A cleanup contractor preparing to drill a monitoring and recovery well to find and pump spilled gas from groundwater during the initial spill response.


To continue protecting people and nearby businesses from the aftermath of a gas spill that began last September, the Washington Department of Ecology has issued an enforcement order to the owner of a Walla Walla gas station. The order requires the owner, Stillwater Holdings, to continue work to reduce harmful vapors and remove contaminated water from nearby buildings.

In May, Stillwater Holdings told Ecology that they could pay for little or no more work, and that Ecology would need to take over. By law, Stillwater Holdings is responsible for the pollution, responding to the emergency, and cleaning up the contamination. 

Generally, Ecology does not use taxpayer funds to pay cleanup costs when the company has money available. Ecology is prepared to take over and fund the Walla Walla cleanup if needed because the spill poses significant risks to the community. 

The enforcement order ensures that work will not stop while financial issues are resolved.  

The incident began last September when the Marcus Whitman Hotel in downtown Walla Walla was evacuated due to gasoline odors. Testing identified potentially harmful vapors and gasoline in the basement, and in two nearby buildings. The buildings were ventilated to eliminate the risk of an explosion, and the buildings’ drainage systems, also known as sumps, were pumped to reduce vapor concentrations.

An investigation found that gasoline from a Stillwater Holdings’ underground tank had leaked and was pooling in adjacent buildings’ sumps. The leaking tank was taken out of service and has been emptied.

Local, state, and federal agencies, along with third-party contractors, have deemed the area safe for residents and visitors with protection measures and air quality monitoring in place. Testing of Walla Walla's municipal water and wastewater systems and nearby Mill Creek has shown no evidence of contamination. 

Provide input 

Ecology is soliciting public input from June 18 to Aug. 16 on the following documents, which can be found on Ecology’s Stillwater Holdings Chevron cleanup website

  • Enforcement Order, which requires Stillwater Holdings Chevron to treat and dispose sump and wastewater related to their gasoline spill and keep vapors from accumulating in neighboring buildings until a permanent treatment system is installed. 
  • Public Participation Plan, which describes how you can be involved during the cleanup process.  

To comment:

Contact information

Erika Beresovoy
Twitter: ecologywa