Light Blight

That’s the side of my house that faces the gas station. The strip of shadow is where the fence ends. Those windows belong to my (former) bedroom, the dining room below, and the kitchen (with the back door). It’s not shown but the french door to my back porch behind the kitchen is also well lit. It looks like this every single night.

I took these photos with my camera on a basic setting. I haven’t tinkered with them to lighten them. The camera makes computerized adjustments.

This is what it looks like from the street. There’s a streetlight a little ways down, towards Hamilton Rd. It’s bright enough with just that. One photo is lighter than it looks in real life, the other is darker. Imagine something in between:

junenight1.jpg

junenight2.jpg

That would be a reasonable amount of light to be directed at the side of my house. The difference is obvious.

Because the gas station is on the most elevated portion of the street, and the way that the canopy and pumps are arranged, the headlights from a large truck or SUV that pull in from Hamilton Rd sweep across four of the houses across the street, right at the level of their living room windows. I am confused why my neighbours are not furious about this. This is a completely predictable outcome ! This is an issue about the elevation of the gas station property, but also the PLANNED direction for gas station customers. The pumps and canopy could have been oriented  perpendicular to this street. That way the canopy would have completely sheltered customers as they walked from the pump to the convenience store, and headlights would not affect any residential properties. This is a couple of  houses right across the street when the headlights sweep across:

lightsweep.jpg

This is what it looks like inside my former bedroom at night. This is facing the gas station. My half curtains are semi-opaque:

brightbedr.jpg

Viewed from the hall:

fromthehall.jpg

With the windows at my back facing the hall:

faceaway.jpg

In the hall and stairwell. The light shines through the doorway and transom and illuminates the far side of the house ! From dusk until dawn.

farside.jpg

This is excessive and unnecessary. Other municipalities actually have laws which address light pollution and light infiltration. Not London, Ontario, though !

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/light-pollution-east-carlaw-memnon-1.4888524

Click to access nuisancelighting2013.pdf

Toronto has a very comprehensive document about effective lighting in an urban context:

Click to access 8ff6-city-planning-bird-effective-lighting.pdf

Did you know that the light from bright LEDS can cause negative effects on humans, including permanent retinal damage ? And endocrine disruption ? And serious negative effects on wildlife ?

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/exposure-to-led-lights-could-be-harmful-scientists-suggest-a-simple-solution-58544

https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/bright-led-lights-can-affect-wildlife-as-much-as-midday-sun-scientists-warn-282156

Many businesses (and people) believe that bright lighting prevents crime. There have been studies which contradict this. One even found that criminals PREFERRED bright locations, as it helped them to see what to steal, and it made THEM feel safer !

Click to access LightingForSafetyAndSecurity.pdf

Obviously the Dark Sky Society has an agenda – less light pollution. Here’s more information about lighting, safety and crime:

Lighting, Crime and Safety

Here’s an interesting study about service station lighting that shows that reduced and shielded lighting for gas stations actually increased sales at those stations:

Service Station Lighting

Click to access canopy.pdf

My neighbour’s excessive lighting actually makes my property less safe. The glare from the EXTREMELY BRIGHT lights over the tire compressor make it impossible to see details in my front and back yard. If this lighting was replaced with a lower, shielded task lighting, none would infiltrate my property. Tire compressor users would also probably have a better time seeing what they are doing. As it is the light is above and behind the compressor – making the instructions for use harder to read. That light is much brighter than at my doctor’s exam room – yet no surgery of any kind is performed by the tire compressor. The lighting could also be motion sensitive – so it would only come on when in use.

It all brings me back to questions about why this is exempt from City Planning and bylaw enforcement ? It is excruciating to look at and serves little positive purpose.

Unsafe In My Own Backyard

The winter of 2018 held on into 2019 far later and longer than it usually did. It was damp, chilly and miserable throughout April and into May. Even my perennials were at least two weeks behind schedule. When the weather improved I was happy to spend some time in the yard again.

I repainted my vintage patio set and hung up some leftover canvas drop cloths. The area beside the terrible fence still had 42″ chainlink.

patio.jpg

This had the gas station’s gas meter, and had become a dumping ground for whatever debris was abandoned – old tires, torn cloth flyers, partial boards and whatever else got dumped there. There was no gate to contain this, and the mess was visible in my yard, right next to my patio area.

dumpingground.jpg

At some point I noticed a black box on the ground, pushed right up against the fence towards my side. It was unmarked. At first I thought it had something to do with cable or internet. When I walked home from the library I noticed another one in the factory’s parking lot, pushed right up against the chainlink fence at the back of the lot. This one WAS marked, and I realized they were rodent bait traps. But this wasn’t even on the gas station’s property !

I did some googling, to find out what the laws were about these things, but could not find much information. I contacted Health Canada, and after a somewhat protracted inquiry process learned that the use of these horrible things was legal, even adjacent to a residence. I also learned what was in the bait stations: Bromadiolone.

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/bromadgen.html

As I have cats, I have never had a rodent problem. I am also very careful with food storage, and have most of my loose food staples in jars or tins with tight lids. I never have dry cat food left out, either. The cats are fed at mealtimes and the empty dishes picked up.

While I compost, I also compost the cat’s wood based litter. The poop is scooped and flushed, the peed on pellets turn to sawdust. Cat urine is said to be a powerful mouse DETERRENT: https://www.hunker.com/13422387/how-to-get-rid-of-mice-with-cat-urine

The gas station has ongoing issues with staff not using the dumpster properly. I’ve complained about it before:

https://blackpicketfence.org/2019/03/09/garbage-exasperation/

I’ll bet gas station customers dump all kinds of horrible trash in the cans by the pumps – rancid drive through food containers, junk food wrappers and anything else that might be floating around in a car or truck. As far as I can tell the convenience store does not sell any kind of fresh food. Many bottles, cans and wrappers end up in my yard.

This summer there were several small bags of wretched smelling garbage dumped by the tire compressor. I could sure smell them on my side. At the same time, the mountain of garbage built up beside the dumpster and stayed that way for close to a week, in the sweltering sun. Here’s a photo from the beginning of July, 2019:

july:19garbage.jpg

Here’s a photo from the end of July, 2019, featuring the horror garbage by the compressor:

endofjuly:19.jpg

Now if there was a rodent issue at the convenience store – which only sells pre-packaged foods in sealed containers – then the issue seems to be with SANITATION. Stinking bags of food related garbage, like leftovers and wrappers, that were not emptied daily into the locked dumpster seem much more likely to attract rodents than my compost, yard or garden. There were no rodent bait stations next to the dumpster or receptacles by the front door or pumps.

The menial retail jobs I’ve had always had rules about making sure the shop was tidy before it was opened, and before it was closed. I have a hard time understanding that a 24 hr store does not have rules about staff ensuring that the store and yard were tidy. If people dumped their trash on the gas station’s property – it was still the gas station’s responsibility to ensure the garbage was properly contained. Of course an enclosure around the dumpster would help with that a lot. Why isn’t there one ?

About the Bromadiolone: This is a powerful anticoagulant. Rodents who visit the bait station ingest the Bromadiolone, but it takes them close to five days to die. They bleed to death internally. This is much crueller than a snap trap.

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/bromadgen.html

Many animals die from secondary exposure to Bromadiolone. A cat, or hawk or owl eats the poisoned (but still alive mouse), then dies from the anticoagulant the mouse consumed. Given that the station is approximately two blocks from wild parkland next to the river, this is unconscionable. This explains what happens:

https://www.audubon.org/magazine/january-february-2013/poisons-used-kill-rodents-have-safer

I have cats, including a couple who are mousers, that eat their prey. The presence of these bait stations has meant that I cannot even safely let these cats into their own yard !

Here’s a terrible account of what happened to one cat, from a cat rescue group in NYC (Little Wanderers, July 5, 2019, Facebook). Even the veterinarian could not save this cat, who was otherwise being treated for a minor wound:

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 9.44.25 PM.png

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As far as I know, there are at least 11 cats that live on this street, and 6 dogs. Right across the street from the station are two sketchy rental houses with at least 2 dogs. As any pet owner knows, it can be impossible to see what your pet has in their mouth, if you’ve turned your head for even a moment. If your pet has suddenly become unwell, the ER Vet Clinic can do what they can to diagnose and treat your pet – IF you can afford it. Critical care for a pet can quickly cost thousands of dollars. If they can save your pet, they will – but there are no guarantees. They will do what they can. Despite this your pet may still die, and you have to pay that bill for services rendered.

You can call the Animal Poison Control Center, but even that phone call will cost $ 59.00 USD for someone to try to help you: https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com

I’ve been careful to not have toxic plants in my yard, I don’t use pesticides or herbicides and I am still not able to keep my pets safe on my own property due to someone else’s actions.

There’s many things a household or business can do to PREVENT a rodent infestation – most of them are common sense. Poisoning is such a hateful and lazy solution.

http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2014/09/cruelty-free-pest-control-rats-and-mice/

https://www.jcehrlich.com/mice/why-are-there-mice-in-my-house/

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/pest-control-tips/rats-mice.html

 

 

 

Hey TSSA, that’s not okay ! (Part 3)

Who is the TSSA, exactly, and what are they supposed to do, anyway ?

Wikipedia has a very short entry about this entity:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_Standards_and_Safety_Authority

” The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) administers and enforces technical standards in the province of Ontario, Canada.

“It is a non-profit organization that has been given powers to enforce and create public safety rules in such areas as elevators, ski lifts, amusement rides, boilers, pressure vessels and operating engineers in order to protect lives and the environment.”

This doesn’t mention the fuel handling angle, but the TSSA is the sole authority for matters of regulations surrounding fuel handling – which has removed a province or municipalities from having any jurisdiction like bylaws regarding things like, say, vent locations for underground gasoline storage tanks. Despite being a non-profit organization that is concerned with matters of public safety, the information and codes are only available for a substantial price (ie $ 135.00 plus HST for the Liquid Fuel Handling Code), and this information is NOT available through a public library or online. In my experience the TSSA has been incredibly unhelpful to the point of being obstructive – between refusing to answer my questions – to sending me a form to request any information ( $ 120.00 plus a 120 day waiting period for answers, plus an hourly rate for any extra research required.). As a homeowner living next to a gas station, I am not even able to access information about what the legal distance those underground storage tanks are required to be from the property line. I asked the TSSA this question in an email in July 2018, and no one has ever answered.

https://store.csagroup.org/ccrz__ProductDetails?sku=2425551

The TSSA has the authority to approve things like the relocation of the underground gasoline tanks and storage vents, which are then done by a petroleum contractor. In my particular situation, when I complained about the gasoline vapours entering my home due to the new vent location, they sent the same inspector who had approved the vent relocation to inspect his own work !

Since then, he is the only TSSA inspector I have dealt with. I have not been recording our conversations, but from my perspective I perceive there has been a lot of “gaslighting” going on. I have been told contradictory and frankly untrue things. I have been given explanations that plainly make no sense. I have been told that my interpretation of the code surrounding the vent location was incorrect, though when he actually reread the code had to admit that my understanding of it WAS the correct one. It is my word against his, as I do not have recordings of these interactions. I have been told that if he returns to continue to inspect – that I will be charged an hourly rate for this. The TSSA has not taken a single air quality sample, and does not have any documentation that the vent pipes are in a safe location, and that gasoline vapours are NOT entering my property. There is no test equipment that documents the volume of gasoline vapours released from the vent pipes. The TSSA has never provided me with any written documentation of their findings, with regards to my complaints.

I am not the only one who has had troubles with the TSSA.

Here’s a press release from the Ontario Federation of Labour, from 2013, about their concerns about the TSSA, as it pertains to the Sunrise Propane Disaster in Toronto (2009):

RELEASE – Conviction in Sunrise case confirms failure of privatized TSSA

More information about the Sunrise Propane Disaster:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/anger-sunrise-propane-blast-1.4779912

Did you know that the TSSA only started tracking residential inspections in January 2018 ?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/toronto-tssa-inspection-ontario-ministry-consumer-safety-sunrise-1.4611619

The auditor general says that the TSSA is not doing its job properly (Dec.2018):

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/tssa-auditor-general-report-1.4933359

Here’s what the people who work (or worked, past tense) at the TSSA have to say about working there:

https://www.glassdoor.ca/Reviews/TSSA-Reviews-E714721.htm

https://ca.indeed.com/cmp/Technical-Standards-&-Safety-Authority-(tssa)/reviews

Here’s what people in various industries have to say about their dealings with the TSSA:

https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/tssa-toronto-ontario-c295285.html

Here’s what some people in the HVAC trade have to say about their dealings with the TSSA:

https://www.hvactechgroup.com/hvacforum/index.php?topic=616.0

This is beyond unacceptable. The TSSA needs to have its authority removed, and replaced by a competent, FULLY ACCOUNTABLE and transparent organization, that actually, ya know, works toward safety for businesses and residents.

As it is now is shameful.

 

 

I Contacted the Ontario Fire Marshal

Next I wrote to the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office. I have been told (though I can find no citation for this) that the location of the vent pipes need to be a certain distance away from a flammable structure, like a fence.

My email, sent Feb.27, 2019:

” I live next to a gas station that was recently renovated, with new underground gasoline storage tanks. The vents were moved from a previously troublefree location, far from my house. The vents are now 4′ from my property line, then another 24′ from my house. They are adjacent to my front door and most of the windows on my house. When there is a tanker refuelling, gas fumes are sometimes released. My yard is often filled with gasoline vapours. Depending on the wind direction my house is often infiltrated by gasoline vapours – despite all my windows and doors being closed. This is toxic and volatile. My property is on a lower elevation (approx 40″) so the vapours sink. There is nothing I can do to rid the house of gasoline vapours when there is an infiltration as opening the windows and doors would only let more vapours inside. I have made numerous reports to the TSSA and the Ministry of the Environment regarding this. The TSSA has sent an inspector who witnessed a refuelling, who had to admit there was a problem. I believe this situation is potentially extremely dangerous. Can the OFM help me or is there another enitity I should contact ? I am in London, ON.”

Their reply (March 12, 2019):

“Hello Ms. Johnson,

On behalf of the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management, I’d be pleased to respond to your question about gas stations. A shortcut to the Ontario Fire Code and a transcript of your question can be found beneath my signature. I have also included links to the various links of legislation cited in this message.

The Technical Standards and safety Authority (TSSA) regulates gas stations under Ontario Regulation 217/01, a regulation under the Technical Standards and Safety Act. 2000. The regulation adopts the Liquid Fuels Handling Code, 2017 (LFHC), which specifies the requirements for the storage, handling and dispensing of gasoline and associated products that are used as fuel in motor vehicles or motorized watercraft. All gas stations are required to comply with the LFHC. However, they are not necessarily required to comply with the Ontario Fire Code, and part 4 of division B of the Ontario Fire code specifically deals with flammable and combustable liquids. However, Part 4 does NOT apply to the storage, handling, transportation and use of flammable liquids to which the TSSA Act, 2000 apply. This is referenced under the Ontario Fire Code, clause 4.1.1.2.(2)(a). This provision outlines that TSSA is the authority having jurisdiction as it relates to gas stations. If offensive odours continue to persist, I would suggest that you re-engage with TSSA to express your concerns and/or discuss this matter with a member of your municipal government.

I have provided the coordinates for you to connect with customer service represntatives from TSSA.

regards,

Jay Current P.Eng

Fire Protection Engineer

Office of the Fire marshal & Emergency Management”

He attached a bunch of links, including one for the Liquid Fuel Handling Guide, which only took me to a portion of the site where I could buy my own copy ($ 135.00, remember ?) but not actually access the code.

Again – authority is deferred to the TSSA, who does not actually have any code pertaining to the distance these vents should be from a residence. The TSSA  who does not take any samples to prove the vents are functioning properly or safely, the same TSSA who gave authority for the guy who approved the vent location to INSPECT his own work when an issue is reported. The same TSSA dude who told me I would be charged an hourly rate if he has to come back to my address again.

Shameful.

I Contacted My City Councillor

crueljoke.jpg

The people in the neighborhood outreach at the library told me he was great, and was really receptive and responsive to people in the community. I even voted for this dude as he was the only candidate that even canvased this street.

He got an earful about my fence and gas station dissatisfaction during his canvasing, but never responded to my follow up, via email. I figured he was busy with the election and whatnot.

I tried again on Feb.26. At this point I had THREE gasoline infiltrations that month, and one cat in acute liver failure, which happened within 48 hrs of the 2nd gas infiltration.

I wrote a somewhat long but very specific email regarding this with my address, email and phone number. Did my city counciillor respond to my email ?

This is the reply I received, over one month later on March 29, 2019:

“Good afternoon Andrea,

Councillor Van Holst has followed up with staff in the Building and Bylaw Enforcement divisions and have learned that they do not have jurisdiction over the issues you are experiencing.

As you mentioned dealing with the Ministry of the Environment and TSSA, we would recommend reaching out to your member of Provincial Parliament, Teresa Armstrong, as the provincial government has jurisdiction. Teresa’s contact information is as follows:

Tarmstrong-co@ndp.on.ca

519.668.1104

Warm regards,

on behalf of Councillor Michael Van Holst,

Amanada Swartman

Administrative Assistant

Elected Officials, Councillors’ Office

City of London ”

Did my elected representative make a time to come to my address to have a look around, to see what I was talking about ? No. Did he have a phone conversation with me about this ? No.

Did he even personally answer my email ? No.

Way to go, Michael Van Holst. While it is true that the vent location is not (legally) a matter for the city of London, it SHOULD BE. If he had bothered to speak to me, I could have told him that basically the vent location is hands off for everyone, except the TSSA, who does not even have any code about vent locations and residential property. My gas station troubles are happening in his ward, and are a result of outdated and lax municipal code and city planning, and the incompetent stranglehold that the TSSA has regarding fuel handling.

Update: Michael Van Holst took a leave of absence to run for the right wing Progressive Conservative party. He was not elected, and has returned to his job as city councillor. The CBC did a piece on some of his climate change opinions:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/london-ontario-climate-crisis-denial-fact-check-michael-van-holst-1.5372239

If I could take back my vote which helped elect him to city council I would.

 

Getting Nowhere with the TSSA and MOE

I contacted the person from the Ministry of the Environment, who had come with the TSSA inspector last time. February 2019 had THREE gasoline vapour infiltrations inside my home.

I was told that the TSSA inspector and the MOE representative would be present at a scheduled refuelling, and they would contact me in advance. I made sure I could be present.

They arrived as scheduled yesterday, March 14, 2019. I let them into my house and showed them the windows and doors. We walked around outside the house on the north side, so they could see that there were storm windows and storm doors, and no gaping holes in my exterior or rotten window frames with holes. We went into the basement, to establish that there were no gasoline odours seeping up through the slab. This would happen if the underground gasoline storage tank was leaking, or had leaked. They said they wanted to get a sense of what my house smelt like, prior to a tanker refuelling. I had been careful to not do any priming, in the bedroom with plaster repairs in progress.

Again, neither individual brought any type of equipment to gather air samples.

I predicted that there would NOT be a gasoline infiltration as the wind was blowing south – southeast. The TSSA dude tried to claim the wind was blowing in the opposite direction. This wasn’t what the Environment Canada website said, just a few minutes prior.

The TSSA representative tried to claim that that I did not understand the code pertaining to vents. Here’s that code again, from the 2017 TSSA Liquid Fuels Handling Code (SKU 2425551):

ventpipescode.png

He tried to tell me that this code ONLY pertained to vents on aboveground tanks, which this was not. I told him that the TSSA had emailed me this code in reply to my inquiry, so I did not have further context for this code. If I wanted to buy my own copy, the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) would be happy to sell me one, for $ 135.00:

https://store.csagroup.org/ccrz__ProductDetails?sku=2425551

(Why this code is not accessible public knowledge is a mystery to me. I could not find any PDF copies online. I asked at the library, thinking they might have access. The woman who helped me spent quite awhile searching, even Western University’s catalogue, but there was not a copy to be found. She also found the link where a copy could be ordered but on the library’s computer the price was $135.00 USD. She was baffled by the high price of the document, and the obstructive secrecy.)

He pulled up his copy of the code on his phone, which included the context for the section on vents. I read it, the MOE representative read it and oops ! It did NOT apply to aboveground gasoline storage tanks – these were excluded from this section. It was the correct section of code for venting on an underground tank. (WTF TSSA inspector ?!)

Eventually the tanker truck showed up to do a fill. I sat with the TSSA dude and the MOE dude in my kitchen, waiting to see if there would be a gasoline infiltration. The MOE guy looked out the window in the door, watching the vents, to see if he could see the vapours as they were venting.

As predicted, there was no gasoline infiltration. I have been upfront when I have reported the infiltrations to the Ministry of the Environment that the gasoline vapour infiltrations are NOT happening with every fill.

I explained, again, that as a homeowner – there was nothing I could do to correct this situation. Even a 20 foot tall solid masonry fence – which the city certainly would not permit – could not prevent the gasoline vapours from drifting over or around, to settle and sink into my yard or be forced through the small spaces around my windows and doors when the wind blows from the west or northwest.

Even if my house was sealed with windows that didn’t open – I would have a ventilation intake – probably on the north side of my house, as that was where the furnace and water heater were vented.

The TSSA dude suggested an air purifier. I strongly doubted this would help with gasoline vapours as they are designed for ordinary household issues – like damp, mold, smoking and pet allergens.

Despite the vent code stating plainly that the vents were to be located so that the gasoline vapours would not enter a building – it says this twice – or affect people – the TSSA dude continued to claim that the vent was in compliance.

I asked why the vent had been relocated, and he said that it was due to some electrical issue, and also the ventilation system for the convenience store. What ? That building was RENOVATED – and there was plenty of space for their ventilation system to go. In fact they had moved the entrance doorway. An underground gasoline storage tank is much bigger than any electrical components.

They sat around for about 45 minutes . There was no gasoline odour inside or outside my house.

Some stuff was said off the record – but overall what I was told came down to this:

  • since they had not witnessed a problem, they would not be returning for a further inspection. It was up to me to prove there is a problem
  •  if I continued to report these issues, and the TSSA inspector was sent again as a result, that I would be charged an hourly rate plus travelling time. Frankly, this felt like a threat
  • even if there was clear documentation of gas infiltration, that it would be up to the gas station owner to correct this problem (vent location), as on paper the vent location was in compliance with the TSSA’s CSA code

The burden of proof is on my shoulders. The TSSA, MOE or gas station owner or parent company is exempt from proving that there is NO PROBLEM.

Did I mention that I have emailed my local city councillor, Michael Van Holst a couple of times regarding this issue, and that he has never even acknowledged my emails ?

I’m not going to shut up and pretend there is no problem. There is a very serious problem, and I did not make it, and there is nothing I can do to mitigate it.

 

 

 

 

Garbage Exasperation

On numerous occasions I have observed a curious habit at the gas station.

Bags of garbage and miscellaneous debris are placed beside or behind their dumpster, but not IN it. I think it is locked, so perhaps staff cannot always find the key ? Several bags of garbage piled behind the dumpster for weeks froze onto the ground and sat there for more weeks. This week a disturbing bundle was wrapped in what appeared to be a pink child’s blanket. I hoped it wasn’t a dead animal. I prodded it with my foot, and it was plumbing or heating plastic elbow joints = ???

Now the gas station can’t stop people from attempting to put their trash into their dumpster (ie private rental property they pay for). However – the staff could certainly put all trash adjacent to the dumpster, IN the dumpster. This is a minimum expectation for staff.

This is the reason that enclosures are built around dumpsters – to make them less terrible to look at, and so people who aren’t authorized users have less access to them.

When there’s a windy day, the trash that isn’t frozen to the ground blows down the street. No one recovers the XL box from the display drink cooler, or the packaging from lighters or bulk chocolate bars. None of this debris comes from any other neighbours.

Why aren’t they recycling the cardboard ?

It’s maddening. I walked by this trash for a week until I photographed it today. Seriously.

marchgarb1.jpg

marchgarb2.jpg

 

 

 

Conversational Gems: Property Values

(Image by Lee Miller)

While having one of several spats with the gas station manager, he claimed that having this gas station and convenience store next door to my house would increase my property value.

Citation needed, young dude.

Here’s an article titled ” 10 Industries that Diminish Property Values the Most”:

https://housely.com/industries-that-diminish-property-values-the-most/

Convenience store with gas station, # 2 on that list.

“Cemeteries, highways, gas stations: Here’s what decreases your property value”:

https://www.lowestrates.ca/blog/homes/cemeteries-highways-gas-stations-can-decrease-property-value

Community and Environmental Defense Services, a US organization has a long article with many links about gas stations and convenience stores, and the impact they may have on a community.

http://ceds.org/convenience.html

The article breaks down the issues which are about zoning, groundwater pollution and the health impacts on people living in the area, and addresses negative issues like lighting, noise, increased crime, traffic and blighting.

“How Safe are Gas Stations ?”

https://frontporchne.com/article/safe-gas-stations/

This article addresses a gas station/convenience store’s impact on a neighbourhood, even the ones that are “sited with intent” but also addresses gas stations “long term offsite impacts”.

I couldn’t find any articles about how a convenience store/gas station improved the property value of area residents, though I tried.

I mean – I understood that the location of my house between a factory and a used car lot was going to affect the value. If I was in a beautiful location in the nicest part of town with the same house my property would have cost more. If my house was in a terrible location in Toronto it would be worth at least 5x as much. That’s the value of location. However, I did not know that the City of London offers no protection for a house that is situated next to a commercial property, unless the commercial property is a brand new development from scratch.

Due to the TSSA’s stranglehold on fuel handling code, no Ontario municipality has ANY say about how far a vent has to be located from a residence, or the distance a gas station must be from a residence. However, many much smaller municipalities do have explicit bylaws about fencing between a commercial property and a residence, enclosures for garbage, landscaping and buffering zones:

Click to access 06.pdf

Prince George, B.C. has a population of approximately 74,000.

London, ON’s 2016 census says it had a population of 494, 069 in the greater metropolitan area. What gives, City of London ?

 

Gas Infiltration Questions

The infiltration of gasoline vapours into my house is happening even when I have all the doors and windows closed.

How is the gas vapour getting INTO my house ?

There are storm windows on most of the windows – mostly vintage aluminum triple track ones with screens, but I have a couple of antique wood ones, too.

The doors on the house are the original wood doors, with the exception of the door on the back porch, with the vintage aluminum storm door. Oh, and the wood storm door on the kitchen is a replacement, that has a tempered glass insert.

I have door sweeps on all the exterior doors, except the back porch. I also have a door sweep on the door that leads to the back porch from the kitchen, and both foyer doors. Both foyer doors are original to the house and fit properly in their jambs.

I have weather stripping on the kitchen door and the front door.

The vintage aluminum storm windows are attached with screws and a horrid amount of caulk. This led to irreparable damage on several window sills as there wasn’t any place for condensation to go but down. The rotten window sills have been replaced.

I had a blower test done before I had the new furnace installed, then again after so I could qualify for the rebate. It showed a few places where there was some air leakage around a few windows, even the ones with glued on storm windows. I replaced the broken basement window, sealed up the terrible powder room fan vent hole and caulked along the baseboards on exterior walls.

There are no obvious gaping holes on my house. There’s a little missing mortar here and there, minor.

The front door is slightly smaller than the jamb. Any door has to be or it will not open or close properly. London is very humid so a wood door in a wood jamb that fits tightly in the winter might not close at all in summer. A door is usually about 1/4″ (7mm) narrower in with than the opening, and about 1/2″ shorter..

https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/door/door-repair/how-to-fit-a-new-door-into-an-old-opening/

The sash windows have to be slightly smaller so they can open and close as well. There is no significant rot on any of the wood sash window frames, and they are all still seated properly. A couple of panes have small cracks but the glass is not loose or missing. I have replaced most of the damaged glazing putty on the ground floor windows. I have curtains or blinds on most of my windows which help with privacy and retaining heat.

Houses that are sealed too tightly have indoor air quality problems.

Depending on the wind speed and direction a room might be cozy or drafty.

Gasoline vapours are entering my house because they are vapours. They are forced in and through minute openings around the doors and windows by the wind direction. This is not an error or deficit in my house’s construction.

Gasoline vapours are entering my house because of the vents made for vapour release, from the underground storage tank, which are in a dangerous and inappropriate location.

I could remove all my original windows and doors and replace them with inferior modern garbage doors and windows. Maybe even frames and jambs, too. I would still suffer from the infiltration of gasoline vapours because the vent is situated too close to any doors and windows, in violation of TSSA’s own guidelines.

Perhaps if my house was a windowless extra thick-walled industrial building, situated as far back as possible on the lot, with the front door situated on the south wall, also near the back of the lot, then the gasoline vapours would not enter the building ?

 

Effects of Gasoline Inhalation on Humans

Oh sure, car companies are making their product greener than ever before. Yeah, gas companies are making their product burn more “cleanly” whatever that means.

Here’s some light reading:

https://journals.lww.com/epidem/Fulltext/2004/07000/Chronic_Low_Level_Exposure_to_Gasoline_Vapors_and.510.aspx

(Underground gas tank storage leak exposes many residents to low level benzene in the gasoline for years. Elevated leukemia rates ensue.)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/8306786/Living-with-100-yards-of-petrol-stations-damages-your-health-study-claims.html

(2011 Spanish study recommends that residences should be a minimum 50 yards away from the closest gas station, after measuring pollutants particularly benzene. 100 yards distance is recommended for schools, health care facilities, etc.)

https://phys.org/news/2018-10-gas-stations-vent-toxic-fumes.html

(Columbia University study discovers that the airborne losses from gas fumes via vents are TEN TIMES as much as originally believed. More benzene is released from venting than previously thought. You know, that carcinogen.”The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Minimal Risk Level (MRL) for benzene exposure over a period between two weeks and a year was exceeded within 7 or 8 meters of the two gas stations.”)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-small-gas-stations-significant-health.html

(Small spills at gas stations while refuelling create a cumulative risk, including benzene contamination of soil and groundwater.)

Click to access tp72.pdf

(1995 EPA report on the Toxicological Profile for Gasoline. Many documented effects via various routes including inhalation, skin exposure, oral exposure. Negative outcomes include DEATH, neurological problems, heart problems, cancer, reproductive problems, breathing problems, chemical burns and so on.)

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323426.php

(Lightweight article outlines health effects of gasoline exposure, including gas huffing)

https://www.nap.edu/read/4795/chapter/28

(University level textbook chapter about gasoline toxicity)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1520019/?page=1

(1994 “Neurotoxic Effects of Gasoline and Gasoline Constituents”. “Occupational exposure to gasoline has been associated with numerous signs of neurotoxicity. Significant effects on intellectual capacity, psychomotor and vasomotor function, immediate and delayed memory, and an increased proportionate mortality rate(PMR) due to mental and psychoneurotic conditions have been reported for gasoline service workers…”)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222489/

(2011 Study of the Adverse Health effects from living in proximity to industry, including of course gas stations. Adverse Pregnancy outcomes, childhood cancers, cardiovascular, respiratory illnesses and other diseases are increased with variable results from the proximity. Hint: this proximity in no way increases positive health outcomes.)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/leukemia-rates-high-for-kids-living-near-gas-stations/article20434890/

(2018 Globe and Mail story about a study that found that children ages 2 -6 who lived close to gas stations were four times more likely to develop leukemia and eight times more likely to develop acute non-lymphocytic leukemia)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3271273/

(2012 paper about benzene induced leukemia in humans and risk assessment. “Benzene is associated with multiple adverse health effects. It was shown to induce hemotoxicity in humans over 100 years ago…” “Benzene metabolism is inherently complex and occurs principally in the liver and also in the lung with secondary metabolism occuring in the bone marrow.” )

If you are tired of reading you can watch this:

 

There is substantial research on the negative effects of gasoline and gasoline additives. This is not news, and is much worse than previously considered.

Yet there are no guidelines from the CSA or the TSSA on the distance underground gasoline storage tank vents should be from a residential property. In Canada. In 2019.