Probably the biggest mystery that New London has had in it's history has been the "Gas Leak" that occured in the past few years. Evidently they say the first sign of the gas leak began back in 1988. They claim 4000 gallons of gasoline was recovered from the North Main St. sewer in 1989. This so-called "Leak" seemed to be in front of J.W. Kelley's Union 76 station on North Main St. In 1992 the State made Kelley shut down his three underground tanks in order to check the tanks for gas leaks.
A photo taken shows New London Firemen pouring water on the remains of the State's monitoring system after the explosion of Jan. 9th, 1994.
Two upground tanks had been installed so Kelley could keep his gasoline business going until the State was finished with their testing. According to the State Fire Marshall's Office no leaks were discovered in the tanks.
Two small explosions occured at the Marvin McCallister home on North Main St. when a water heater ignited gas fumes in the home. The State installed monitoring wells on April 29th, l992 to check on the amount of gas leaking into the North Main St. sewer line. They claimed 1600 gallons of gasoline had been recovered from the sewer line several months after this system had been installed.
By the end of 1992 the State of Ohio was again blaming Kelley's Union 76 station as the cause or source of the gas leak. In January 1994 Kelley's underground tanks were shut down again and the station continued operations with the two temporary upground tanks. On January 9th, 1994 the little building housing the monitoring pumps and equipment of the State Bureau of Underground Storage Tanks Regulations exploded sending smoke and flames high in the air. The blast knocked down Kelley's son, John, who was on his way to move a truck when the explosion occured. He was taken to the hospital but found to have no serious injuries of any kind. The State installed a new $35,000 pumping and monitoring station to continue monitoring the sewer line. They continued to find gasoline in the sewer line even though Kelley's underground tanks were now dry and not being used. The State continued to blame Kelley's station to be the source of the gasoline leaking into the sewer line. They ordered his Union 76 station closed and the law suits began. In the end Kelley lost the battles in the court rooms and the station was permanently closed and eventually the building was torn down.
The State later turned the monitoring of the sewer line over to a private firm and to this day they are still monitoring the sewer line. As to how much gasoline is being found in the sewer line today I guess no one knows? The mystery goes on and doesn't seem to have yet been solved. V.K. Neel from New London Record articles