How Do You Clean Up 10,000 Gallons Of Gasoline
The DEC say's the Utica Fire Department and the State Office Fire Prevention and Control did a fantastic job on the arterial clean up process where 10,000 gallons of gasoline spilled out of a wrecked tanker.
First, we should be thankful no one was injured. Utica Fire Chief Brooks says people don't realize the gravity of the situation. "The could have been catastrophic if a spark of any kind came into contact with the gasoline." Imagine what one little spark could have done with 10,000 gallons of gasoline. Thankfully all of our first responders and everyone involved came out the other side with no injuries.
You have to suck up as much of the gasoline as possible with what's best described as a huge shop vac on wheels. Over 3000 gallons of liquid gas was collected
The extent of the gas spill impacted a number of people "This is the first time the arterial, on-ramps, and off-ramps were all closed at the same time," explains Chief Brooks.
How do you clean up a spill of this magnitude? Gary McCullouch is a DEC Regional Spill Engineer that was on the scene quickly and was very happy with the Utica Fire Department, and the Office Of Fire Prevention. "A fire suppressant was used over the gas and water to stop the generation of vapors that could cause a fire or inhalation hazard," says McCullough.
McCullough says the clean up is a 3 part process. "First you have to stop the flow of the spill. Second, you have to suck up as much of the gasoline as possible with what's best described as a huge shop vac on wheels. Over 3000 gallons of liquid gas was collected during this step."
McCullouch says the third step is excavation, which is already underway. "A lot of gas ends up soaked into the soil where it can slowly leak into the ground water and creek. To stop that we excavate the soil that grossly contaminated with gas."
The gasoline did make its way into the drainage system, but McCullough says that's better for them. "We know where it's going that way. When its seeping into the ground and moving through the soil, it's harder to get to."
As for the smell, McCullough says not to worry. "You may smell some gasoline, but a little goes a long way in terms of odor. I don't think it's much different than when you're filling your car with gas."
Although there will be some work to do in the Spring, the majority of the clean up will be done within a week.
The North and South 840 exit ramps off the arterial are closed indefinitely.