By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
The Isle of Palms Connector bridge and a busy thoroughfare on the island were shut down April 30 after as much as 2,100 gallons of fuel spilled into the roadway at a gas station on Palm Boulevard.
Despite the efforts of the IOP Fire Department, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Coast Guard and the Mount Pleasant Fire Department’s hazmat unit, some gasoline leaked into the Intracoastal Waterway, according to IOP Police Chief Kevin Cornett.
The chief said the accident occurred between 2:30 a.m. and 2:45 a.m. while a tanker truck was making a delivery at the island’s only gas station, located at 1206 Palm Blvd.
“At some point when he was putting fuel into the underground tank, something happened. We don’t know what yet,” Cornett said.
“A quantity of fuel wound up in the roadway and ran down toward the Connector.”
Hepaco, an environmental contractor, was called on to try to mitigate the effects of the spill. Cornett said he expected the company to return the week of May 3 for “tests to determine how much more they need to do.”
The Connector was shut down from around 3:30 a.m. until 10 a.m.
“Initially, we were told it was about 500 gallons of fuel,” Cornett explained. “But it turned out to be more than that. Out of an abundance of caution, we closed the Connector down. We were concerned that traffic would back up and someone would drop a cigarette or cause a spark and we’d have a bigger catastrophe.”
Palm Boulevard was shut down between J.C. Long Boulevard and the Connector. The southbound lanes were opened at 12:30 p.m., Cornett said, while the entire roadway was reopened just after 5 p.m. Traffic was directed through Front Beach.
DHEC is proceeding with the investigation of the incident at this time.