09/13/2011 11:22 EDT | Updated 11/13/2011 05:12 EST

Gas station leak contaminates Kerrisdale properties

Shell Canada says it is still trying to determine the size of a decades-old gas leak from a station in Kerrisdale, raising concerns amongst homeowners about their property values.

The oil company discovered the leak five years ago nearly 20 metres underneath the station at Granville Street and 41st Avenue. Since then it has determined 78 properties in the area have some level of contamination.

There has been a gas station on the corner for about 80 years and most residents believe there is little health or environmental risk from the leak.

But legally the residents will have to disclose the contamination if they ever decide to sell their properties, and some, like Mark Levy, are worried how that could affect their values.

"We bought our house in 2003 and we weren't aware of any of this," said Levy.

"We're not planning to sell for some time, but I suppose at some point prospective buyers may look at that and shy away because just concerns fear of potential risk in the property," he said.

Company working with residents

Shell spokesman Jeff Gabert says the company has already been working with homeowners to make sure they don't lose out when they sell their homes.

"Anytime that we've helped somebody in that area sell their home recently, we've got list or above, and we're going to continue to look to do that," said Gabert.

Shell is still conducting tests to determine the size of the leak. It will then work with the Ministry of Environment what to do about it.

But Gabert says the good news is that there appears to be little risk to health because the contaminated soil is so deep underground, and there are no plans to start tearing up the neighbourhood to remediate the soil.

"It's not something where we're going to go dig up people's yards and that kind of thing. It's just not a possibility," said Gabert.