Gas Spill Cleanup Continues - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/19/04

Gas Spill Cleanup Continues

Workers are still cleaning up an area along Highway 90 where an overturned tanker spilled 1500 gallons of fuel Friday. The concern now is potential environmental damage and how to correct it.

For the last three days clean up crews have been busy trying to minimize environmental damage. First they built two man made dikes to contain the spill in the low lying area between Highway 90 and the rail road tracks running parallel to the road.

"We brought in vacuum trucks started sucking the free flowing liquid out. Then we drilled into the tanks on the truck and removed 7300 gallons of gasoline," Earl Etheridge with the Department of Environmental Quality said.

More than a thousand gallons spilled onto the ground.

"Probably about a three or four hundred square foot area's what we're working. We're lucky because the gasoline didn't run laterally, it went pretty much straight into the ground."

To make the area safe, the DEQ plans to remove the contaminated soil. DEQ says clean up crews are digging as deep as six feet before they reach clean soil, but they're hitting ground water before that.

"Most of the gasoline is seeping out of the pit on top of the ground water so we haven't had any spread into the groundwater. I think everything is going to be pretty well localized to right where the truck was."

The Department of Environmental Quality wants to be sure that the spilled fuel didn't contaminate the area's ground water supply. That's why Etheridge says most likely two monitoring wells will be installed here on the site. This will allow the DEQ to take water samples to check for contamination in the future.

"They'll show us how successful we've been with our cleanup and that'll take care of any more gasoline. It'll give the gasoline some place to seep back into and so we can keep a check on the area."

In all, the DEQ plans to remove more than 1800 yards of contaminated soil. Earl Etheridge says they will fill in with new dirt once cleanup is complete.

There's no word yet on when the clean up will be done.

by Josh Ridgdell

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