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Crews are continuing to clear out vapors from a fuel spill in Miles City that lead to the evacuation of a downtown apartment building and post office.

A gas tank at the Conoco Short Stop gas station on Seventh Avenue leaked about 9,700 gallons of fuel into the ground in October. The leak was discovered after the apartment manager of Lewis and Clark Apartments noticed a strange odor in her basement apartment.

The apartment complex was evacuated. The city's post office was also evacuated after vapors were detected in the basement two weeks ago.

The post office is now utilizing a mobile unit brought from Great Falls.

On Monday, crews from the Department of Environmental Quality were mitigating the vapors from both buildings.

"The vapors kept increasing in the older part of the (post office) building," said Aaron Anderson, DEQ environmental specialist.

To remove the vapors and the fuel from the ground, crews have drilled extrication wells along the sides of both buildings.

"Our contractors are going to be checking the clean monitoring wells we had installed to the north of the post office and along Seventh Avenue just to make sure that it is not expanding on us," Anderson said.

A fan will also be brought in to put positive pressure inside the apartment building. The fan is expected to arrive this week and be installed sometime next week.

Anderson said the hope is to have everything back to normal by early December.

DEQ Public Information Coordinator Mary Ann Dunwell said the leaking tank is expected to be removed from the ground sometime next week.

The tank was emptied shortly after the leak was discovered. The next step is to find out exactly who is at fault for the leak.

"Once we pull the tank we will get a closer look at it to see what failed," Dunwell said. "Did it corrode? Did the actual wall of the tank fail?

"There are warning systems that are part of these tank systems and we will find out if that wasn't working."

Contact Chelsea Krotzer at ckrotzer@billingsgazette.com or 657-1392.

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