Mysterious fuel spill contained

FOR a while last Friday afternoon the intersection of South Coast highway and Strickland street was the scene of an emergency response.

Central Denmark in emergency lockdown.

Around midday local resident Jody Ovenden was crossing the highway to Morrisons’ when she noticed diesel fuel running down the footpath and road. “I was concerned, so I called the shire, who alerted the rangers and asked me to call 000,” she said.

By the time police and the fire brigade arrived Jody noticed that the whole intersection and the footpath on the opposite corner were also covered with fuel.

Spilled diesel fuel runs into a stormwater drain. Photo by Jody Ovenden

Police diverted traffic from the scene and the fire brigade worked to contain the spill until Main Roads arrived.

Jody noticed that some of the fuel was running into a stormwater drain, and that the owner of a nearby shop was pouring hot water and detergent on the spill, to help to break it down.

This quick action may have contributed to dispersion of the diesel. Sand was spread over the spill and the drain encircled by a barrage to prevent more fuel entering.

Stormwater drain contained by emergency services. Photo by Trish Thornett

Fuel which did enter the stormwater system may end up in the river.

Police believe that the diesel may have come from an unsealed drum on the back of a ute or truck.

“We appreciated the patience of the motoring public while the diversion and controls were in place,” Denmark police sergeant Matt Hartfield said afterwards.

Main Roads WA regional manager Andrew Duffield said later that he was very happy with how quickly the volunteers responded. “Nonetheless, it is encumbent upon those transporting loads to make sure they are secure,” he said.

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