A large fuel spill at a service station has impacted a creek at Forestville.
Just before 4.00am Monday morning (22 May), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Forestville and Willoughby Stations were called to a report of a fuel spill at the Metro Petroleum station at Warringah Road, Forestville, near Cook Street.
Only metres from the specialist hazmat station at Cook Street, Forestville, firefighters found a bulk fuel tanker had been filling underground tanks, and an overflow had occurred, spilling a quantity of E10 fuel estimated to be at least 500L (litres), which had flowed onto Warringah Road.
Given the large quantity of escaping fuel, an additional FRNSW heavy hazmat response unit from Chester Hill was called to assist. They were able to recover between 150-200L of fuel into hazmat containment bins.
Concerned that fuel had escaped into stormwater drains, booms were put in place, and an aerial surveillance unit was called in, for a FRNSW drone to conduct a survey of local waterways that fuel may have escaped into.
Atmospheric monitoring was conducted on stormwater drains in the vicinity to determine any risk of ignition of fuel vapour. Drains on the southern side of Warringah Road were given an all clear, but reports began to come in of a fuel smell from residents on the northern side of Warringah Road, particularly along Brown Street.
Firefighters followed the stormwater system down Brown Street to Pambula Place, which drains into Carroll Creek in the Garigal National Park. Working with officers from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), they put booms in place in the creek to contain any spills that entered the waterway.
A spokesperson for the EPA confirmed on Monday, 22 May, they were investigating the incident, but did not give specific details about the response they were undertaking or the extent of concern for possible damage to the waterway.
“The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) received advice this morning (22 May) that a fuel spill had occurred at a petrol station at Warringah Road, Forestville. We have also received reports of fuel odours from nearby residents.
“Our officers are now on-site and advising Fire and Rescue NSW and the property owner to ensure effective measures are put in place to minimise harm to the environment.
“We are inspecting creeks in the area to determine if there has been any environmental impact,” said the EPA spokesperson.
Yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 25 May), an inspection of Carroll Creek by the Northern Beaches Advocate found evidence of fuel in the waterway (image above) upstream of a containment boom (main image) that remains in place. No aquatic life was observed in Carroll Creek immediately upstream of the boom in the affected area.
FRNSW Superintendent Adam Dewberry said they had worked with the EPA on the best strategy to contain the spill and, in conjunction with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and EPA officers, it was decided containment was a better option than attempting to flush the stormwater system with a large quantity of water, which would push the fuel further downstream.
The strategy is to allow the contained fuel to evaporate, and it is understood that the EPA have asked FRNSW to leave the containment booms in place on the creek until next Tuesday (30 May). Water sampling has been conducted and there is no risk of ignition from the fuel that is contained.
Metro Petroleum did not respond to a request for comment.
Images: Northern Beaches Advocate
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