On the morning of Monday, June 13, 2016, a routine report that was generated for the City’s diesel and unleaded above ground fuels tanks indicated an unexpected and significant reduction of diesel fuel. A preliminary inspection revealed that a leak had occurred in the diesel fuel tank and fuel was exiting the containment wall through an open drain valve.
The regulations for above ground storage tanks require a containment wall capable of holding 110% of the volume of the tank. In this incident, the containment wall’s drain valve was inadvertently left opened after discharging collected rainwater. Failure to close the drain valve resulted in the ineffectiveness of the containment wall during the spill.
Staff immediately notified the Dothan Fire Department of the spill. As is required, the Fire Department then notified EMA, ADEM, and the NRC (National Response Center). Data reports indicate a total diesel fuel loss of 5,143 gallons. The resulting spill covered an area of 919 square feet that was 16 feet wide at the widest point and 164 feet long.
Monday afternoon, the Street Division excavated approximately two feet deep to remove contaminated soil. As of Friday, June 17th, the process of excavating contaminated soil was still ongoing.
In the event that a contractor is needed to assist with the removal of contaminated soil, the City of Dothan has already begun the process of applying for financial assistance through a special trust fund provided by ADEM.
“In a situation such as this, ensuring the safety of our citizens and the environment becomes our top priority, and we are doing that,” said General Services Director Randy Morris. “The other thing that we are doing is re-evaluating and updating our Standard Operating Procedures for checking tank levels in order to make sure that this never happens again. Since it is our goal to be more proactive than reactive, we also plan to re-evaluate all of our procedures immediately in order to eliminate the likelihood of another incident such as this one.” One such procedural change that is already being implemented involves the replacement of the current drain valves with lockable drain valves to which only certain employees will have access.
In responding to the diesel fuel spill, The City of Dothan is committed to providing an effective on-site response that results in the proper cleanup of the spill with minimal impact to public health and the environment.