Environmental Officials Investigate Fuel Tank Leak at Marion County Fire Station
Published November 30th, 2012
GAINESVILLE - Marion County Fire Rescue is concluding an investigation into an apparent fuel tank leak at one of its fire stations. It took the state Department of Environmental Protection to notify Marion County firefighters, but at this point, it isn't clear why.
According to public information officials, Marion County Fire Rescue had no clue about this leak until April. That's when they were notified by DEP officials that diesel fuel was found to be leaking from a large tank right beside station number 12 in northwest Ocala.
After the initial notification, MCFR says their Risk and Benefits Services office, which handles any incidents involving county equipment, immediately inspected the tank and found that a coupling in one of the fuel hoses was indeed leaking fuel. MCFR says the coupling was immediately fixed.
However, a film was also found on rainwater that had collected inside the tank's outer containment structure, a possible indication of another fuel leak within the tank itself. MCFR says they are still investigating how that water may have become contaminated with fuel, and where it ended up.
As a result of this leak, the DEP has hired another outside firm to conduct soil samples around the fire station. "After the Department of Environmental Protection notified county staff about the incident at fire station 12, staff went out and looked at the fuel tank containment vessel, and conducted an initial site cleanup," said Barbara Hernandez, a Marion County spokesperson. "After that, soil testing was conducted, which resulted in a follow-up site cleanup. Another soil test has been conducted, and the results are pending," said Hernandez.
To prevent this from happening in the future, MCFR says their Fleet Management office will now conduct inspections on all of the county's fire rescue fuel tanks every 30 days.
When we visited the site on Thursday, we did notice a large patch of dirt that had been disturbed inside a retention pond right next to the fuel tank.
Although they were first informed about the leak back in April, fire rescue says they are just now wrapping up their own investigation.
We also called Robert Grass, the president of the local fire fighters union, to see if he knew anything about this fuel leak. He refused any comment.
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