USF responds to fuel leak

When a USF Bull Runner shuttle took a sharp turn near a fuel trailer on Wednesday night near USF parking lot 14 and a valve on the biodiesel fuel tank broke off, approximately 250 gallons of B20 biodiesel fuel leaked out on the scene, Karla Willman, assistant director of communications for Physical Plant, said.

University Police (UP) received the call just before 9:00 p.m. Wednesday and reported a traffic crash between a USF Shuttle Bus driven by a Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) employee and the fuel tank, Lt. Charlotte Domingo of UP said in an email.

USF Environmental Health and Safety and Tampa Fire Rescue (TFR) responded to the scene, and no injuries were reported.

The tank was leaking 10-15 gallons per minute, and it is a 1,000 gallon tank, Debra Warshefski, public information officer for TFR, said. Thats a substantial size and means it could have leaked up to 1,000 gallons.

Though no injuries occurred, the situation posed potential threats to both members of the community and the environment, Warshefski said as the toxic chemical leak posed great fire hazards. TFR was dispatched by UP to help set up barriers around the spill to prevent the biodiesel fuel from entering nearby storm drains.

We were responsible to quickly stop the leak and contain the spill, Warshefski said. We were able to do it based on our training, and thats what we are here for. Its very important for us to contain the spill and make it safe for the people in the community, and for the environment.

Willman said dirt and landfill materials were used to contain the spill.

The leak was stopped by members of the TFR Hazardous Materials Team, UP officers and PATS staff. Environmental Health and Safety and Physical Plant also helped in the containment effort and began the cleaning process.

The spill did not impact the storm drains or nearby soil and was contained in the bus compound throughout the incident, Willman said. The spill materials were placed in 30 gallon and 55 gallon drums for proper disposal.

Willman said USF must now notify state agencies about the operation.

The incident caused no disruption for the Bull Runner service, said Raymond Mensah, director of PATS.