Water experts began drilling test wells Monday to help determine if groundwater in the area of a former Salt Lake fire station is contaminated by a hazardous-waste spill at the site.

The wells will measure groundwater flow at the site, 679 S. Second West, so officials "will know where to look for contamination," said Garth Miner, a water-quality engineer for the City-County Health Department.Crews are expected Tuesday to take water and soil samples in the area to test whether the solvents have contaminated the groundwater, Miner said.

The hazardous-waste leak was discovered last week when work crews renovating the building, now a used-car repair shop, noticed an odor near a sump pump that was supposed to drain solvents from the former fire station into the city sewer system.

Miner said the spill appeared to be only minor. "From the superficial evidence, I don't think there is anything wrong here," he said.

Area homeowners, like most Salt Lake residents, use water from deep aquifers. The spill, if it has contaminated water supplies, has affected only shallow reservoirs, he said.

The solvents, some of them carcinogenic, were used for cleaning fire engines. Firefighters once washed the solvents into a drainage system that was supposed to dispose of the chemicals into the city sewer system, officials said.