Worse yet, officials say recovering even a small amount of the 20,000 gallons of gasoline, which has seeped into the water table, might take years.
Residents in the town of Jackson, about 30 miles north of Milwaukee, are using bottled water for drinking, washing and cooking. Some said they fear the expense of long-term repairs and finding a new water source, along with the spill's effect on property values, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The pipe burst July 17 and spilled about 54,500 gallons of gasoline in a matter of minutes onto a farm pasture where a thin layer of topsoil covered fractured rock. About 20,000 gallons of gas has seeped into the bedrock and health officials say it could spread unpredictably for miles.
Contaminated groundwater is being pumped out of six nearby wells in an effort to contain the spill, the newspaper said.
Residents are said to be weighing a class-action lawsuit against the pipeline owner, West Shore Pipe Line Co. of Illinois, and the pipeline operator, Buckeye Partners L.P. of Houston.