Auke Bay fuel leak deemed minor

Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A fuel spill at Auke Bay Monday evening turned out to be minor and was quickly contained.

Gasoline leaked from a broken pipe at the Petro Marine Service fuel dock around 8 p.m. Petro Marine Service immediately secured the leak while the U.S. Coast Guard arrived to assist, said Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosely and Jim Cawdrey, Petro Marine's plant manger for Juneau.

Cawdrey said a temporary patch was put on the pipe and compressed air was used to get the remaining fuel out of the bad pipe. He said the company was in the process Tuesday of cutting out the pipe section that leaked and services should be restored to normal by Wednesday.

The actual amount of gasoline was not determined but agreed to be small with no threats. Cawdrey said measurements before and after the leak indicated only about a gallon was lost. Mosley said the notification to help indicated that approximately 30 gallons was spilled. Cawdrey said this estimation was inaccurate.

Mosley agreed that the spill was a small one.

"Thankfully it turned out to be a minor problem instead of becoming something much worse," he said.

Mosley said the spill was originally thought to have come from a vessel. The Coast Guard learned it was from the broken pipe when they arrived around 9 p.m., at which point it was being temporarily repaired with a permanent fix in place for Tuesday.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Spill Prevention and Response, inspected the area Tuesday. Environmental Program Specialist Crystal Smith said the spill was fixed properly.

Cawdrey said the leak was a result of the facilities rather than the pipe.

"It's another sign of the importance of moving forward on the (new) Statter Harbor dock," he said.

• Contact Jonathan Grass at 523-2276.

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