SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — KREM 2 first reported about a problem at the pump impacting drivers in the Spokane area, who tell us their fuel tanks were filled with gas contaminated with water at a number of gas stations.
Since that first report, more people have emailed KREM 2 with the same issue, which is costing them hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars in engine repairs.
Corina Fletcher told KREM 2 she fueled up at the 76 station at Wandermere on December 27 with an online receipt to show her purchase. She also provided an invoice for an $800 engine flush that her mechanic told us was necessary to fix the problem.
Fletcher says the main office for the 76 R&B Super Stop told her they wouldn't pay for the bill because she filled up with unleaded, but the issue was with their premium tank.
When KREM 2 called the office, we were also told the water leaked into the premium tank and that the company had already paid for numerous towing and repair bills for those customers. When we asked for an interview Wednesday, we were told we'd get a callback, though that didn't happen.
The station's representative did answer our call on Thursday with new information, though she couldn't speak on camera. She told us they're now paying for all customers who had contaminated gas.
They believe the extremely cold temperatures in December damaged a part in the premium tank, leaving it open and allowing water to leak in. They say they now think after premium customers pumped from that tank, residual contaminated fuel was left in the hose and got into other customers' tanks when they filled with regular.
You can contact the main office at (509) 892-5186 to start the reimbursement process, though they'll have to verify your fuel purchase first.
Other reports on social media show this wasn't the only gas station with the same issue, so KREM 2 is continuing to investigate how widespread this situation may be.
We contacted the Weights and Measures division of the Washington Department of Agriculture, which regulates and inspects gas stations.
A program manager wasn't able to do an interview but told us the program is interested in investigating the issue.
KREM 2 has put in records requests for results from a random monthly quality test the division does on gas stations, as well as records from complaints about contaminated gas. Those records weren't immediately available.
The program manager does say the best way to launch an inspection at a gas station is to file a complaint; they want anyone impacted by watered-down fuel to do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (360) 902-2035.
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