Around 11:38 am Saturday morning, crews from East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and various other agencies responded to a gas spill in Discovery Bay. Crews arrived on scene to find a large fishing boat that had pumped twenty-two gallons of gasoline into the storm drain at the Safeway Fuel Station off of Highway 4 and Bixler road.
Engine 59 notified the Dept. of Fish and Game, California Highway Patrol, Contra Costa County Office of Emergency Services, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department and Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Team.
The 22-gallons of gas was spilled after the boat owner removed the fuel cap but placed the fuel nozzle into a fishing pole holder.
According to the incident report, the HAZ-Mat Team placed absorbent brooms into the storm drains while Engine 59 flushed the storm drain at the point of entry with tank water pushing the fuel into the absorbent brooms.
The incident not only highlights the diversity of the district about how they do not only respond to medical and fire calls, but they do have times where they are called for hazardous material spills.
According to Chief Hugh Henderson, over the past couple of years crews have responded to several spills from raw milk to ethanol.
“Our first goal in a spill is to isolate, deny entry and make notifications,” explained Chief Henderson. “Normally with gasoline spills we are trying to contain and gasoline from getting into storm drains or waterways. Crews will contain the spills by making dams or diverting the spill away from the storm drains. Notification is an important part of the hazardous material spill that all of the proper agencies are called and respond if needed. Within Contra Costa County environmental health is the lead hazardous materials team except for the communities of Richmond and San Ramon where the fire departments lead.”
It is unknown whether or not the owner of the boat was issued a ticket or bill for the incident.
The boater will likely face a $700 per hour fine from the county. The county was on scene for 2-3 hours which will result in a $2,100+ fine.
Photographs courtesy Nate Anderson of East Bay Freelance Photography.