Fire Marshal: Diesel fuel flowing mysteriously into the Hague


by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

Posted on August 1, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 4 at 11:57 AM

NORFOLK -- Diesel fuel is flowing mysteriously into the Hague during heavy rains, according to the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Investigators are working to uncover who is responsible for the pollution.

Officials with the Department of Environmental Quality said the fuel could be coming from old tanks or even gas stations.

They say fuel sheens reported in the Hague and Elizabeth River are common.

“Norfolk  is an old industrial city and there are lots of sources, plenty of leaking fuel tanks. We see report of sheens on the Hague and Elizabeth River weekly. We’ve been chasing them for decades and decades,” Tom Madigan DEQ pollution response supervisor said.

On June 27, HRT spilled about 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel at its facility on 509 E. 18th St.  The mistake was caused by a faulty sensor that sent too much fuel to a generator.

Norfolk FD crews reposition booms to contain previous fuel spill

“I think there is some mystery here, but I think people would be surprised to learn about the number of spills,” HRT spokesperson Tom Holden said.

The DEQ is requiring HRT to test the soil nearby its spill at the 18th street bus garage by the end of August.

“My big interest in this is to ensure that we take the steps to fix the tanks and machinery so that we don’t have another incident like this,” Madigan said.

HRT officials said crews recovered 2,500 gallons of their spill and they’ve hired Universal Labs to test fuel samples in the Hague on July 1, 4, and 11.

“All of them proved negative for our fuel,” Holden said.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is also testing samples of the fuel in the Hague, hoping to find the culprit.

Fire Chief Julian Williamson told 13News Now that 3,500 gallons of fuel is a 'significant spill' and HRT has storm drains that lead into the Hague.

"HRT is cooperating with our investigation. We just want to figure out the source of the spill so we can protect the environment," Williamson said.