WEST FORT HOOD — Cleanup efforts for about 14,000 gallons of jet fuel that spilled from a valve Thursday morning will continue for several weeks, officials said.
The difficulty is getting access to heavily wooded areas where fuel pooled up in dry creekbeds that lead to Reese Creek, said Riki Young, chief of the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division’s spill team. The spill has remained within an area 1,200 meters south of the initial spill site at a fuel storage facility, close to the flight line of Robert Gray Army Airfield. The spill remained on Fort Hood property.
Fort Hood Fire Department Chief Billy Rhoads said his department received a 911 call about 6:45 a.m. alerting it to the situation. After arriving, fire personnel saw JP8 — a type of jet fuel — spewing from a faulty overflow valve.
About a dozen fire personnel worked at the scene, eventually stopping the spill and tracking the fuel through the woods behind the facility, Rhoads said.
“We are investigating when possibly the last people were here ... or what occurred to cause the spill,” Rhoads said.
With fire, life and health threats gone, the fire department turned the situation over to Young’s team to clean up the fuel, worth $50,000.
“We are working with maintenance to get access to where the fuel pooled up and doing the initial cleanup,” Young said.
“It’s very important because we want to keep the fuel in as small an area as possible.”
As of 1 p.m., about 3,000 gallons had been vacuumed up, he said, and the bulk is expected to be picked up by today.
The spilled fuel did not reach flowing waterways, but Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials were on the scene.
The last time a fuel spill occurred at Fort Hood was in 2008 when about 10,000 gallons spilled n the same location.
Officials urge people to keep themselves and livestock away from the affected area as a safety precaution.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.