The Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a reported fuel leak Wednesday afternoon in an industrial area off of Pineville Road. Some people in the area noticed the smell of petroleum around 3:30 p.m. and called 911. The Chattanooga Fire Department responded with several fire companies and the haz-mat team.
Tactical Services Chief Danny Hague said the leak was traced to an underground pipe owned by Colonial Pipeline. However, no injuries were reported and no evacuations were necessary.
Officials with Colonial told firefighters that they estimated approximately 500 gallons of fuel leaked out of the pipeline before being discovered. Once the leak was discovered, Colonial officials said they shut the pipeline down. Colonial officials said their estimate of how much fuel leaked will be revised as workers excavate the site to repair the leaking pipe.
Environmental cleanup companies were on the scene to assist Colonial Pipeline. They placed absorbent booms and other barriers around the spill site in an effort to keep the fuel from getting into the Tennessee River, which is located approximately 1,000 feet away. Those companies will also be working to clean up the soil that was contaminated by the fuel. That operation could take days or even weeks to complete, depending on how much fuel leaked. The cause of the leak is under investigation.