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A leak in a 10,000-gallon tank at the Ridley Township Municipal Maintenance Center at Second and Sutton avenues has been leaking diesel fuel into Stony Creek for about a day. The leak in the massive underground tank was discovered Tuesday morning when Prospect Park residents noticed the fuel odor.
Ridley Township Fire Marshal Robert Griffith told Vince Sullivan of the DelCo NewsNetwork “We got a report of a fuel spill into the creek at about 10 a.m.,” Griffith said. The original call came from Prospect Park where someone smelled the fuel. We traced the spill back the township garage here.”
Griffith estimated the leak had been ongoing for about 24 hours, which gave the fuel enough time to seep through the soil and into a 16-inch stormwater pipe, where it ran into the creek. The tank was not filled to capacity, and there was still fuel inside when the leak was located. The amount of fuel that leaked from the tank is unknown.
Fire companies responded and began placing absorbent booms on the surface of the water to soak up the fuel slick, which floats atop the water.
“The spill was contained to creek itself,” Griffith said, adding that no fuel made it past Chester Pike. The Darby Creek and the Delaware River estuaries were free of contamination, he said. There was no infiltration of the fuel into drinking water, and the only ill effect most people would experience is a lingering odor for a couple of days.
Downstream at 13th Avenue in Prospect Park, fish and a turtle could be seen swimming in the water as a brown slick flowed past. A fuel-like odor permeated the area around the creek. A boom set up near East Hinckley Avenue in Ridley Park farther downstream seemed to be catching whatever fuel made it that far south. Once contained by the booms, the fuel could be vacuumed from the creek.
Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection responded to the scene and were assisting with cleanup. The damaged fuel tank was pumped out and township officials were preparing to remove it to determine the cause of the leak.
A DEP spokesperson said that there was no evidence of any negative impact on wildlife.
Firefighters from Prospect Park, Ridley Park, Folsom, Leedom, Eddystone, Woodlyn and Sharon Hill fire companies responded to the spill, along with Delaware County hazardous materials workers and the county’s mobile command center.
The last major fuel spill in Ridley Township that effected Ridley Park was the gasoline leak into the The Little Crum Creek in 2009.