Crews to dig up fuel-contaminated ground at RIC

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – The truck that was carrying eight thousand gallons of jet fuel Tuesday is gone, but what remains a day later, will be even tougher to remove.

"There's still a slight odor of jet fuel around here, but again, we've been monitoring the area for atmospheric, it's perfectly safe, the contamination is relatively light," said Jim Nilo, RIC Operations Manager.

Excavators today began the time-consuming process of "digging up" all of the fuel soaked ground. Others were on site to pump the fuel out of a manhole, or to get a good look at the metal light pole that was destroyed. Early estimates put the cost to fix all of this at $100,000.

"Any of the hazardous product, the jet fuel, that is in the ground will be cleaned up and removed from the site, and the site will be restored back to its pristine environmental condition," Nilo said.

The pile of contaminated dirt will eventually go to an off-site processing center, where the fuel will likely be burned off. Crews must also keep an eye on a nearby creek that runs through the property. Yesterday, they were quick to build a makeshift dam that allows water to flow through, while the lighter jet fuel floats on top. Traces of the fuel are still visible.

"They believe there's relatively little contamination to the water," he said.

While the work goes on, entering RIC is nearly back to normal. One southbound land of Airport Drive remains blocked. But that's not expected to cause significant problems for travelers arriving at the airport and travelers should not expect any delays catching their flights.

The truck driver was 43-year-old Robert McPeak. He was treated for minor injuries. Henrico police later charged him with reckless driving. His company, based in Ohio, is responsible for the estimated $100,000 cleanup. 

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