At approximately 5:30 p.m. local emergency first responders were called to the ESS campus where a school employee was filling and ESS vehicle at the gasoline pump on campus when the nozzle and hose separated, spilling 137 gallons of gasoline. The gasoline flowed across a parking lot and into a nearby ditch and the gasoline began to run down the ditch toward Highway 590.
“The quick response of the campus maintenance department prevented the gasoline from flowing under Highway 590 and into a nearby water actuary,” exclaimed Jones County Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lance Chancellor.
ESS Maintenance Director Orien Flaherty and his crew quickly placed sheets of specialized absorbent material onto the spilled gasoline.
Within minutes of ESS officials reporting the spill Ellisville Fire Department, Ellisville Police Department, Ellisville VFD, Jones County EMA personnel, Jones County Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna, South Jones VFD, Moselle VFD, Boggy VFD, and Mississippi Highway Patrol were on scene. Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality was also notified and kept abreast of the situation.
ESS Director Renee Brett expressed her appreciation for the rapid response from local emergency first responders. Brett said that with the amount of gasoline spilled being over the minimum limit to be handled by the school, the school will contract with an environmental company to clean up the spill. Complete Environmental was contacted and crews from Purvis and Jackson arrived on scene later Wednesday evening to begin the cleanup.
“Had the gasoline reached Highway 590, we would have had to close down the highway to avoid the danger of vapor ignition,” explained Chancellor. “But, they were able to prevent that and the gasoline was contained on the campus property.”
When Complete Environmental representative Kati Kelley arrived on scene and assessed the situation she said, “Our main concern right now is to eliminate the gasoline vapors in the area.” The crews spread bags of Oil Gator Premium Oil Absorbent onto the spill and additional sheets of the specialized absorbent material were used to remove as much of the surface gasoline as possible. Another crew will arrive on campus Thursday morning to remove the contaminated soil from around the spill area.