Large oil spill deliberately released, Griffin Fire-Rescue official says

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Griffin officials say a large Sunday morning oil spill that made its way into a storm water drain and then a stream was deliberately released.
Griffin Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Shackelford said the spill, which originated at TT&D Garage located at 915 Ray St., was reported at approximately 10:30 a.m. and required the response of personnel from all three GF-R stations.
“The garage had an outside storage container that was right at 200 gallons. Probably about 150 gallons of oil spilled out of it,” Shackelford said. “It was an unsecured container, and someone walked up and unscrewed the plug.”
He said the owner, Tommy Brownlee, was not present at the garage when the spill occurred.
“Somebody had to have done it, and he (Brownlee) wasn’t at the business at the time; he was at his residence,” he said.
The oil tank was located by the garage, estimated to be approximately 50 feet from the roadway.
“The oil went down the road, through two yards, back into the road and into the storm drain,” Shackelford said. “The storm drain runs underneath the road and right into the stream.”
Upon GF-R’s arrival, immediate steps were taken to lessen the spill’s environmental impact.
“When we first got there, we dammed it so it wouldn’t continue going into the stream. We then used hazmat rolls – we call them PIGs. You lay them in the water and they help block the oil and kind of soak it up,” he explained. “Behind the PIGs, we built four underflow dams where the oil would hit the dam and the water would continue flowing underneath them. We also lined the dams with additional hazardous materials mats, so they could absorb the oil when it got there. We used all our hazmat materials. We’ll have to reorder tomorrow.”
Once these immediate emergency steps had been taken, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division was notified and a clean-up crew was dispatched to the area. Shackelford said GF-R turned the scene over to the EPD at 4 p.m.
Shackelford said the spill was largely contained and there have been no water advisories issued.
“We stopped it pretty quickly. Not much oil got past 18th Street; very little got by,” he said. “The guys did an awesome job.”
With all 15 GF-R on-duty personnel as well as Capt. John Hamilton, who oversees departmental operations, dispatched to the Ray Street oil spill, the Spalding County Fire Department was placed on standby to handle any additional emergency calls in the city. Shackelford said during the five and a half hours his personnel were working the oil spill, the SCFD did respond with a pumper and squad to one wreck on North Expressway.
Shackelford said he has no information pertaining to the investigative process that is ongoing.

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