Cleanup Of Diesel Fuel In Creek, Marsh Continues

April 16, 1991|By Staff report

The cleanup of 5,230 gallons of diesel fuel spilled Sunday from an underground storage tank near Hanover will continue throughout the week, a state official said yesterday.

Fuel flowed into a marsh and Deep Run, a tributary of the Patapsco River, after vandals flooded a 10,000-gallon reserve fuel tank at the Weyerhaeuser Paper Co. with water, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gary Sheckells.

Residents whose homes abut the creek notified police and fire officials Sunday afternoon, complaining about the diesel fumes. Officials said fire crews traced the diesel spill to Weyerhaeuser resource recovery plant in the 7200 block of Park Circle.

Vandals had run a garden hose from an outdoor water faucet to the tank. After they removed alocking cap from the 10,000-gallon tank, they turned on the water, causing the fuel to overflow.

Sheckells said investigators did not know how long the water had been on.

Because of the size of thespill, fire officials called the state Department of the Environmentabout 4:30 p.m., said DOE spokesman Michael Sullivan.

Sullivan said cleanup had already begun as work crews attempted to contain the spill. The DOE immediately hired a private contractor, Clean America, to complete the job.

Sullivan said heavy rains during the last twodays will flush Deep Run. But, the majority of the diesel fuel flowed into a marshy area, "which isn't good. It makes it harder to clean up."

Ordinarily, Sullivan said, crews would excavate contaminated soil. But, in a wetland like the marsh, digging could do more harm than good, he said.

Clean America will use material that absorbs fuel but not water to mop up the spill, Sullivan said. It also could "vacuum" standing pools of diesel fuel.

In addition to a potential fire hazard, the diesel spill threatens wildlife in the marsh, Sullivansaid.

Weyerhaeuser has agreed to pay for the cleanup "even thoughthere is no indication they are responsible," Sullivan said.

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