FOLLOWUP: What else we’ve found out about West Seattle Golf Course gasoline theft that fouled Longfellow Creek

(WSB photo, Longfellow Creek north of Genesee, Saturday)

4:58 PM: “Gas theft has been a problem at all our golf courses, from tanks and from vehicles.” That’s part of what we learned today from Seattle Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin, responding to our followup questions about last Friday’s theft from a West Seattle Golf Course tank that led to gasoline going into a storm drain leading to Longfellow Creek. We also learned how the gas was stolen: “They removed the vent and used a hose to siphon out the gas.”

(WSB photo, West Seattle Golf Course parking lot, Saturday)

The exact amount that got into the creek still isn’t known: “Around 300 gallons were in the tanks and 70 gallons left behind in gas containers.” That 70 gallons of gas was subsequently “filtered and then put back into the tank,” which is used, Schulkin said, by Parks vehicles. One of those vehicles, as we mentioned in our Saturday followup, was stolen; it has not yet been recovered; we obtained the police report today. According to the report, a Parks employee noticed the vehicle, a white 2016 Chevrolet Colorado, missing when he arrived for work just before 5 am. No other new information in the report. Schulkin says Parks is “developing some solutions for better securing the fuel tank.” Meantime, we have a few other followup questions out to the state agencies that were involved in the cleanup, but haven’t yet heard back.

ADDED 6:16 PM: We just got an update from Ecology spokesperson Ty Keltner:

As of earlier today, responders are not observing any fuel in the creek. There is still some upland soil contamination that may need to be dug out, so sorbents were left in the creek and storm drains in case something migrates downstream. At this point, SPU’s portion of the emergency response has concluded, and Seattle Parks is taking over. Ecology will be on scene tomorrow morning to determine if there are shoreline impacts and if any additional cleanup work needs to be done. We don’t have any updates to quantity spilled.

We also asked about the cleanup cost and how that would be handled. “Way too early” to estimate, he replied.

3 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: What else we've found out about West Seattle Golf Course gasoline theft that fouled Longfellow Creek"

  • West Seattle Guy January 21, 2020 (6:54 pm)

    Gotta love how often theft crimes can cost more in damages and repair than what gets stolen. Frequently the case in auto smash and grabs. I have friends in other cities that even leave their car unlocked so people will not smash the window to figure out nothing is in there. Window still gets smashed. 

  • WS Resident January 22, 2020 (5:14 am)

    Why is the gasoline tank so close to Longfellow creek? Maybe convenient for the workers, but a very high risk for accidental or intentional releases. Move it to higher ground and/or better security. 

    • WSB January 22, 2020 (7:10 am)

      As explained in previous discussion, it’s NOT “so close” to the creek. But the drainage system leads to it. As SPU explained on Saturday, most drains lead to a body of water. On the other side of the peninsula, it’s Puget Sound.

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