JBC officials: Gas leak cleanup enters new phase

File (WCIV)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)- Joint Base Charleston officials announced Friday that a team of workers from the base along with other agencies are responding to a fuel leak that happened Wednesday.Officials said the leak was due to a mechanical failure and was reported around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 16. According to the release, as crews were responding to the mechanical failure, heavy rains caused approximately 1,200 gallons of 'Jet Fuel A' to escape through a storm drain. They said the fuel-contaminated water ran under Dorchester Road and into an off-base ditch. Moran Environmental Recovery, the base's emergency response contractor, was called in and started working on the off-base areas affected by the leak. On Monday they completed their work and turned over the final stages to the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron.Cleanup is still underway at three different locations between Dorchester Road and the air base. Crews will be focusing on removing any remaining fuel by using booms to separate the fuel from the water. "We have three priorities in responding to the leak: the health and safety of residents and cleanup crews, an expeditious clean-up, and preventing further spills," said Col. Jeffrey DeVore, 628th Air Base Wing commander. DHEC and EPA officials said that even though Jet Fuel A is not a carcinogen and poses no immediate health risks, prolonged exposure may cause irritation to the eyes and skin, and it is extremely harmful if swallowed. JBC civil engineers, members of the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Health and Environmental Control and Moran Environmental Recovery have been working to control and remove the spilled fuel. They ask that all members of the community are to stay clear of the drainage ditch until cleanup efforts are complete."I'm very satisfied with the work I've seen and grateful for the help of our partners in Moran Environmental Recovery, the Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Health and Environmental Control," said DeVore. "They've been instrumental in making this cleanup effort proceed safely and swiftly."