The gasoline apparently leaked from a tanker truck parked along North Sims Street, although City of Bainbridge officials aren’t sure of exactly how the gasoline was spilled.
The driver of the tanker truck lives nearby and had parked the truck on what he thought was the side yard of a vacant home, City of Bainbridge Code Enforcement Officer Keith Pollock said.
On Tuesday, Sept. 23, a passerby called Bainbridge Public Safety to report the smell of gasoline in the air next to the truck’s parking spot; the smell was strong enough to be smelled from inside passing vehicles.
Bainbridge Public Safety Major Doyle Welch visited the site and determined what the smell was. It was determined the property actually belongs to CSX Railroad of Jacksonville, Fla., which owns the railroad tracks just north of the property.
The ground on the property was saturated with gasoline and there were dark patches of soil visible, Pollock said.
The Georgia Department of Environmental Protection is monitoring the cleanup.
The trucking company whose truck was involved in the spill has hired Hull Environmental Services of Panama City, Fla. to clean up the spill. The cleanup company has been at work since Friday, Sept. 25. The company removes contaminated soil with a back hoe and puts it in the back of a dump truck. The dirt is transferred to a large, dumpster-like container which is sealed on top with plastic. The dirt will eventually be taken to a hazardous waste storage site, Pollock said.
“After every so many feet they dig, they take a soil sample,” Pollock said. “As long as the sample still shows signs of contamination, they keep digging deeper.”
As of Tuesday, the hole was about 11-12 feet deep and there was still a large area to be covered.