Hazardous waste removed from campus after spill
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 00:10
After a Bull Runner shuttle bus valve burst last week and 250 gallons of biodiesel fuel leaked out, the hazardous waste material at Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) was removed from campus Monday, according to USF Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).
Tampa Fire Rescue and University Police responded to the leak with PATS Wednesday at 9 p.m., when personnel used spill-absorbent material, such as sand and dirt, to blanket the fuel. When it was absorbed by the material and contained on the pavement near USF parking lot 14, adjacent to the PATS office, it was then shoveled into 30- and 55-gallon drums, Aisha Lawrence, assistant director of EHS, said. Environmental Quality, the university’s hazardous waste vendor, then removed the drums.
PATS Director, Raymond Mensah, said the leak occurred when the driver hit a pipe on a fuel trailer after making a sharp turn.
“We are taking a closer look at the incident, and will develop a plan to prevent this from occurring in the future,” he said.
Lawrence said though the spill did not warrant a report to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), as it was contained on concrete pavement and did not contaminate soil or water, the university still provided information of the spill to FDEP.
FDEP requires information on accidents of amounts of 25 gallons or more of what FDEP regulations consider a ‘regulated substance’ if they contact a “pervious surface such as soil or water body.
Though no injuries occurred, the situation posed potential threats to both members of the community and the environment, Debra Warshefski, public information officer for Tampa Fire Rescue, said, as the toxic chemical leak posed great fire hazards if it came in contact with storm drains.
As a requirement, the campus has a spill contingency plan outlining procedures necessary in situations in which chemicals are released.
Lawrence said, measures to correct the accident have been taken by both EHS and PATS.