Exxon Mobil gasoline spill still being cleaned up and monitored

Cleanup crews and other experts are working to clean up a spill that occurred Monday, Nov. 3, at Exxon Mobil's petroleum tank "farm" in the Spokane Valley. Crews are continuing to assess the situation to determine the amount of gasoline spilled from the tank and whether the spill has had any effect on the aquifer...

SPOKANE, WA, Nov. 4, 2008 -- Cleanup crews and other experts are working to clean up a spill that occurred Monday, Nov. 3, at Exxon Mobil's petroleum tank "farm" in the Spokane Valley. Crews are continuing to assess the situation to determine the amount of gasoline spilled from the tank and whether the spill has had any effect on the aquifer.

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is monitoring the cleanup operation closely because the aquifer is relatively shallow, about 60 feet deep, at this location. Excavation conducted early this morning indicated no toxic components of gasoline were present in the soil at a depth of 12 feet.

Ecology hydrogeologists said the aquifer moves extremely slowly to the west in this location. This means if the gasoline did reach the aquifer, the cleanup crews should have ample time to pump any contaminated water out and remove the contaminants.

Overnight and this morning, contractors used vacuum trucks to remove as much unleaded gasoline as possible. They used absorbent booms to absorb more gas and excavated soil from the site.

Gasoline is still being transferred from the damaged tank to another tank in the tank farm. Calculations from this transfer also will help determine how much gasoline was spilled.

Rain began earlier than expected this morning, and crews covered the area and the excavated soil with plastic to prevent any toxic materials from further penetrating the soil.

The Spokane Fire Department, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Fairchild Air Force Base, and Spokane County Fire Protection Districts #8 and #9 all responded initially to the spill emergency to help ensure the safety of the site for Exxon Mobil workers and help with cleanup operations. Many were on scene overnight.

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