HERMANTOWN — After refueling at Sam’s Club Fuel Center on Saturday, Kristine Carolina said her vehicle stalled, had to be towed to a store, and required about $3,000 in repairs before it could run again.
The suspected problem? Water had leaked into the station’s underground fuel tank.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce received a consumer complaint about the station on Sunday and dispatched an inspector to the site on Monday. The pumps were already bagged and out of service when the inspector arrived, said Greg Vanderplaats, director of the department’s weights and measures division.
“We found over half an inch of water in the tank, and the inspector could also see from the sample he took that it was cloudy,” he said, explaining that a water detection paste is used to detect the contamination.
“So we ordered the off-sale product, which was already off-sale,” Vanderplaats said.
Water can cause engine and fuel injector problems.
A fuel sample from the station’s tank was taken for further laboratory testing, which Vanderplaats said confirmed water contamination.
“They said they found where the water was coming from, made some repairs and brought in some new stuff. So we were back there on Tuesday, found no water, took another sample and everything. looked good,” Vanderplaats said.
The station was then allowed to resume operations.
Anyone who has developed vehicle problems shortly after filling up at the Hermantown station lately should contact Sam’s Club, Vanderplaats advised.
“The station is aware that it has a problem, so it needs to help these customers solve the problem,” Vanderplaats said.
If affected customers require proof of the incident for insurance purposes, they may contact the Department of Commerce at 651-539-1555 or [email protected] for assistance. documentation.
A Hermantown Sam’s Club manager asked about the number of people who reported vehicle damage from the tainted fuel to a corporate media service, but company representatives did not respond to inquiries. information from the News Tribune on Thursday afternoon.
However, Carolina said a Sam’s Club employee told her that more than 50 complaints had been received so far.