Monday, February 18, 2019, a large truck filled with tree and soil debris overturned on the south curve of Bear Lake Road about 3:00 pm. A significant amount of diesel fuel began to leak out of the fuel tank and travel to the curb and gutter along the west side of Bear Lake Road. Area residents and BLPA members were quick to call the emergency personnel needed to respond fast to this accident. Seminole County fire and rescue as well as the hazmat team cared for the driver of the truck and placed absorbent tubing in the curb inlets to minimize the diesel fuel entering the stormwater pipe system.
Shannon Wetzel, Seminole County Principal Environmental Scientist with the Watershed Mgmt. Division, has been one of the BLPA’s dedicated heroes who we call first from the County for Lake Emergencies! She indicated the fire department did a good job of blocking off the storm drains and placing absorbent booms and pads inside the storm drains to absorb the diesel fuel that made it into the storm pipes. The estimated amount of diesel fuel that spilled onto the road was 30-40 gallons but less than 2 gallons was estimated to have gotten into the storm system. The fuel entered the storm drain on the west side of Bear Lake Rd., just north of Pineview Way. The storm pipe flows north along the west side of Bear Lake Rd. until it crosses back to the east by the church and then ultimately discharges to Cub Lake. She walked down to Cub Lake outfall and there was no visible petroleum sheen present. After looking in the storm sewers along the way to the lake, it appears that the fuel that entered the storm drain was contained in the storm pipe along the western side of Bear Lake Rd. The fire department had quickly placed absorbent booms and pads in the storm drains along the western side of Bear Lake Rd. It did not appear that any of the fuel spilled onto grassed or soil areas.
The responsible party had a cleanup company en route to the site to conduct the remaining cleanup. County staff from the ECAP3 spill response team remained on-site to ensure proper cleanup by the contractor.
Seminole County environmentalists came out to the scene to assess possible flow of diesel fuel into the lake waters of the area.
The cleanup contractor returned the next day and cleaned out the storm drain/manholes in the vicinity of the accident and removed the absorbent booms as well. County staff from the spill response group was on-site and verified the work. The debris from the truck and the diesel fuel were cleared and removed from the south curve of Bear Lake Road over the next few days.
Bear Lakes LAKEWATCH volunteers were on site and Margaret Bundy, LAKEWATCH Captain for Cub Lake made sure the contractor returned again to get additional dirt and tree debris out if the stormwater culvert. Clean Lakes are our standards and clean drains which lead to the lakes are a priority. Thank you to all that were involved in making sure this accident did not turn into a major disaster.