- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The discovery on Saturday afternoon of about 400 gallons of kerosene leaking from underneath a Burch Oil Co. tank truck at Clarke’s Landing in Hollywood brought a quick response, authorities report, from Hollywood and Patuxent River firefighters and the company’s employees.
The fuel’s path down a drainage ditch led to a sheen on the surface of a Patuxent River tributary, according to state officials, but the contamination was halted by the cleanup that initially focused on damming that course.
“Very, very little of that product got to the water,” F. Elliott Burch Jr., the company’s chairman of the board, said late Monday afternoon. “Most of it was absorbed going down that ditch line.”
A drainage pipe running underneath a roadway in the area “was pretty clogged up” with natural debris, which also impeded the fuel’s flow toward the water, Burch said.
Jay Apperson, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said Monday that the K-1 kerosene leaked from a faulty valve on the truck.
“There was some sheen visible on the water,” Apperson said. “We don’t know how much [fuel] got into the water.”
Contaminated soil was removed and absorbent was used on the water, during Saturday’s initial three-hour response.
The cleanup was also assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Burch said most of the fuel from the bottom-load truck was absorbed by the ground, and that five truckloads of dirt were hauled away from the scene during a nine-hour operation carried out Sunday by a contractor from Great Mills.
Bob Kelly, director of St. Mary’s Department of Emergency Services and Technology, said Monday that the response “was swift and very professional.”
“They were on scene pretty quick,” Kelly said. “Burch Oil did a good job. They had things pretty well contained.”