The Fire Is Out But Now The Clean Up Begins

Tuesday, June 13th 2006, 6:31 am
By: News On 6

Cleaning up after a massive tank fire in Glenpool is no easy task.

Crews are cleaning up the mess left behind by the fire and by firefighting efforts.

The Environmental Protection Agency has left the remediation in the hands of Explorer Pipeline which owns the damaged tank.

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler says. Explorer has its pipeline back online, ready to move more than a half-million barrels of product per day, but their work at the fire site is far from over.

Contractors have been rolling in and out of the Explorer tank farm all day, bringing in containers capable of storing hazardous waste while the site is being cleaned up.

At the height of the fire, the Environmental Protection Agency was on-hand to make sure potential air and water pollutants were kept within safe limits.

Monitoring in the cleanup phase is just as important. EPA is satisfied the cleanup's in competent hands with Explorer Pipeline.

John Godfrey says the company's number one concern is safety, from keeping the public away from the cleanup to the landscaping that keeps hazards contained.

"This dyke [around the tank] has a capacity of 233,000 barrels," Godfrey says. "The tank only held 125,000, so there's more than adequate capacity within the dyke to contain the product, the water and the firefighting foam."

A waterway used to go straight through the tank farm. Now it's diverted around it. EPA and Explorer officials want to make sure that no toxins make their way into this stream."

Some of those toxins could come from the foam that so quickly put-out the fire.

It doesn't break-down and some residual molecules can cause serious damage if released into the environment.

That's why the gasoline, water and foam will be sucked into these containers for the time being.

Godfrey says, "We'll test the water. We'll run it through chemical analysis, see what the constituents are and determine the proper disposal from there. Whether it has to go to a hazardous waste site or a treatment facility or we can dispose of it with equipment on site or some other means."

EPA toured the site and determined there was no breach of the landscaping around the tank so they feel comfortable the groundwater wasn't affected.

They'll be checking back with Explorer once tests are complete.