The city of Murray and the Murray Redevelopment Agency filed suit in U.S. District Court Wednesday contending that Quality Oil Co. left leaking tanks underground, which released hazardous pollutants into the soil and groundwater.

The suit asks that Quality Oil, address listed as Salt Lake County, be forced to pay for cleaning up the site.The site at 5020 S. State, Murray, was owned by Quality Oil from 1944 to 1986. In 1985, the redevelopment agency began proceedings to acquire the site, and on Feb. 14, 1986, the agency and Quality Oil agreed to the acquisition.

"While excavating for construction in April 1986, the agency discovered nine underground tanks at the site. Six of the tanks had numerous corroded perforations. The soil and shallow groundwater in the vicinity of the tanks were contaminated with various chemicals," said the suit.

The suit says that before digging began, the agency did not know the site was contaminated.

The redevelopment agency asked a consulting engineering firm to assess the contamination, and Montgomery Engineers found in a preliminary investigation that the site contains benzene, toluene, xylene, lead and hydrocarbons.

Quality Oil had used the site as a service station; a distribution center for fuel, oil, diesel and gasoline; a tire service center; and a car wash, the suit says. "Quality Oil also handled and stored and may have disposed of other hazardous substances at the site, including degreasing solvents," the suit says.

In 1987, the Salt Lake City-County Health Department ordered the redevelopment agency to clean up the site and issued a notice of violation.

Quality Oil claims the release that was signed when the city took possession of the site "applies to any and all claims regarding the site."

The redevelopment agency claims that neither it nor Quality Oil knew that the site was contaminated when the city took possession, and therefore the transfer agreement should be set aside.