Tisbury police and fire officials closed a section of the Steamship Authority parking lot following a small diesel fuel spill Wednesday morning.
Fire chief John Schilling said he received a call from the Steamship Authority at 6:17 a.m. Wednesday alerting him that a truck had leaked diesel fuel onto the paved area where taxis park.
“An undetermined amount of diesel fuel covered the entire staging area through the northeast terminal,” Mr. Schilling said, adding that he could not estimate the amount of fuel spilled due to “the rain and the puddles . . . that spread it around the parking lot.”
The fuel appears to have leaked from a Carroll’s Rapid Transport truck that hit a storm drain, Chief Schilling said. “It hit the diesel fuel tank which caused a leak that was discovered once they got to the Steamship Authority parking lot,” he said.
“In the course of all this going on, all the storm things on the Steamship Authority site lead into the harbor so the Steamship took quick action to cover some of the storm drains,” Chief Schilling said.
But they were not able to cover all of them. “So some stuff did leak into the harbor,” he said.
Tisbury harbor master John (Jay) Wilbur estimated that about half a gallon of fuel leaked into the water. “Being such a small amount, it was not a problem at all. It floats on the surface and with the wind the way it is today, it got blown out of the harbor and it will evaporate in the Sound,” he told the Gazette. “I wouldn’t call it an incident. I’d call it a mess.”
The U.S. Coast Guard and town board of health were also notified, Chief Schilling said. “A lot of people were on the scene. Everyone gets involved when there’s a petroleum spill.”
To contain the spill, Chief Schilling said the Tisbury Department of Public Works spread sand over the area. Moran Environmental Recovery is scheduled to arrive on-Island this afternoon, he said. “They’re going to pick up all the contaminated sand and remove it from the Vineyard,” he said.
Pending the recovery clean-up, he said the parking lot is expected to reopen.