The cleanup continues at Longfellow Creek, one day after gas drained into the creek after an apparently interrupted siphoning operation at a city-owned tank at the northeast end of the West Seattle Golf Course/Stadium lot. We have some new information, mostly thanks to Seattle Public Utilities, which responded to the spill because it involved their drainage system. The actual spill/siphoning site is some distance from where the creek crosses the golf course:
But as SPU explains it, like many drains all over the city, these lead to the nearest body of water – and here, that’s the creek. The area where we photographed boom work this morning is on the north side of SW Genesee, across from the golf course:
The material they’re using just soaks up the gas, not water, SPU explain. They still don’t know exactly how much fuel got into the creek, because they don’t know how much the thief or thieves got away with. We did learn a little more today about the crime itself: SPU says the 70 gallons recovered by Parks included gas left behind in various containers, suggesting the siphoning may have been interrupted.
Also, an SPU memo sent to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office, which provided it to WSB, also mentioned a truck had been stolen at the scene. Seattle Parks has yet to comment on the situation so we don’t know anything more about that. Back to the spill, cleaning it up is what SPU is focused on; spill program lead Eric Autry talked with us by the targeted tank, and we recorded the entire Q&A on video:
We haven’t reached other departments involved in this, including the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, to which SPU deferred questions about what kind of fish, and how many, the spill has killed. So many remaining questions might have to wait until after the 3-day weekend. The cleanup, however, is proceeding; as Autry mentioned in the recorded interview, the contractor is likely to be on scene at least through tomorrow. The state Department of Ecology has been on scene too:
SPU’s Autry also noted that “as environmental responders … we don’t like to see this.” Nor do the many who have long worked to restore urban greenspaces like this one – a reminder of their work was along the trail as we left the creek, blue-tagged plants awaiting placement:
Longfellow Creek ends at the Duwamish River, so this has the potential to have affected that beleaguered body of water too. We’ll continue following up.