Officials investigate gas spill at Beaver Lake marina
By Tabatha Hunter Staff Writer // email@example.com
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008
ROGERS — When 70 mph winds and rain ripped through Benton County on Saturday night, visitors to Beaver Lake’s Lost Bridge Marina got a little more than they bargained for.
The storm pulled a boat dock away from the marina, severing a gas line connected to an 8, 800 gallon above ground tank and spilling an estimated 5 gallons of gas into Beaver Lake.
“ Our inspector observed and believes that (5 gallons ) was all that was lost in this incident, ” said Doug Szenher, of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
The gas tank was equipped with two shut-off valves, one close to the tank itself and the other next to the gas dispenser. When the line was torn away from the dock in the storm, both valves were activated, with a section of the line falling into the lake. That section, capable of containing 15 gallons of gas, was recovered by divers and found to have 5 gallons trapped inside.
“ The owner of the marina (Bob Bauer ) checked the gas tank with a measuring (device ), and it did not show any appreciable difference in the tank, ” Szenher said. Measuring the amount of gas inside the tank is accurate up to 12 gallons, strengthening the ADEQ’s stance that only 5 gallons of gasoline could have spilled into Beaver Lake.
This calculation is a far cry from the initial estimates made on Sunday by the Benton County Department of Emergency Management, suggesting that between 250 and 300 gallons of gas had escaped into the lake.
As of Tuesday, Marshal Watson, director of the Benton County Department of Emergency Management, changed his estimate to say that 100 gallons of gas had spilled into Beaver Lake.
“ My calculations indicate that the hose that was ruptured would have held up to 100 gallons, ” Watson said.
When asked about the discrepancy in his calculations of 100 gallons and the ADEQ’s calculations that only 5 gallons had escaped, Watson said, “ Here is the bottom line. I do not have the need in my operations to determine the amount that has leaked. My job is to stop the leak and contain the materials.
“ I certainly believe that (the leak ) is in excess of 5 gallons, ” Watson said. “ There is going to be some discrepancy between our agency and the owner (of Lost Bridge Marina ) and ADEQ. ”
For now, absorbent booms have been placed around the area of the gas leak, where they will stay until it is certain that all of the gas is absorbed.
The 5 gallons that the ADEQ estimates leaked into Beaver Lake will have “ very minimal effects on aquatic life. The effects are mainly of aesthetics in that small area where (the leak ) was contained, ” Szenher said.
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