By Ed Greif
A strong smell of gasoline in the area of a busy Crossville intersection led to the closure of the road and several days of clean-up after it was discovered fuel had entered the city's storm drainage system.
"We isolated it to a ruptured line feeding one of the pumps," said Assistant Fire Chief Chris South. "It's hard to guess how much was lost."
South indicated fire department personnel responded to the smell of gasoline in the area of Five Points at West Ave. and Miller Ave. Monday and again on Wednesday, but were unable to locate the source of the smell.
Friday, firefighters located where gasoline was entering the storm drain and hydrocarbon booms were placed in the drains and ditch running parallel to West Ave. and the collection pond behind Hardee's.
The booms allow for water to flow through while absorbing the gasoline. Firefighters also used a special foam to dissolve the gasoline, which was pumped out of the ditch.
HEPACO, an environmental cleaning company with offices in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville, was called to the scene to assist with cleanup and remediation.
Rodney Brown, president of Deloy Brown Petroleum, LLC, which owns the Elite Market Exxon, said gasoline to the station was shut off Friday, stopping the flow of gasoline. South said Monday the leak was discovered in the line near the Elite Market pumps. The parking lot will need to be dug up and about 1,200 feet, about three service lines, will have to be replaced with new, double-walled pipe.
Brown said the pipe in use had been installed 20 years ago and was a top-of-the-line product at that time.
The market remains open, but gasoline is not available at this time. It will take about a week, Brown said.
The fire department was on the scene from 8 a.m. Friday to midnight Saturday and back at work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. They returned to the scene Monday and the excavation of the parking lot was ongoing at press time Monday.
Brown praised the Crossville Fire Department for their response and continued efforts to remediate the situation.
The intersection of West Ave. and Miller is blocked off. The entrances to businesses along West Ave. are still accessible.