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Terra Linda Fuel Tanker Incident

Under the direction of Marin County Environmental Health and Hazardous Material specialists, City of San Rafael Fire, Police, and Public Works staff continue the response and clean-up efforts following Tuesday (1/16) morning’s fuel tanker incident. In addition, professional environmental contract crews are working to mitigate environmental impacts and supporting ongoing clean-up efforts.

Clean-up will be an ongoing effort and the smell of gas may remain for days or weeks. Fire department staff are taking regular measurements to assure there are no air quality or other public safety concerns. Local residents and businesses are encouraged to keep their windows closed and limit outdoor time if the smell is burdensome. In addition to the smell, the public may experience temporary lane closures, see placed absorbent material, or see other clean-up efforts taking place. Please use caution to keep our responders safe and allow extra travel time through the area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Around 2:30am on Tuesday January 16th the trailer portion of a gasoline tanker truck rolled on its side when making the left hand turn from Manual T Frietas Parkway onto Northgate Drive enroute to the Shell Station at 950 Del Presidio Blvd. The driver’s cab remained upright and there were no injuries.

Firefighters responding to the scene set up a containment area to capture spilled material while Law Enforcement questioned the driver and set up traffic controls. The Marin County Hazardous Materials Team, Marin County Public Works, San Rafael Public Works, and Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Team all responded to the scene. Approximately 1,300 gallons of fuel were released during the incident.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation. The driver of the truck operated by Thompson and Harvey Transportation remained on scene and cooperated with responding units. At this time, drugs or alcohol are not believed to be contributing factors.

Following the immediate response, City staff have been working under the direction of the Marin County Public Works Hazardous Materials Program Manager. This has included efforts to minimize the impact of the fuel spill by placing absorbent materials on roadways and in nearby waterways, monitoring waterways for signs of impacts, coordinating with key partners, providing scene safety and security, and managing traffic and roadway safety.

The City has also placed additional sandbags and plastic sheeting at the incident site to limit the impacts of additional rainfall.

There are no direct public safety concerns relating to this incident. Crews will continue to monitor the site and air quality until all remediation is completed. An Air Quality Specialist with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District evaluated the impacted areas on Thursday and had no concerns.

Unfortunately, the smell of gas may linger for days or weeks. San Rafael Fire continues to monitor the lower explosive limit (LEL) in the area, including in confined spaces. It continues to be well within safe limits, meaning there is no explosive risk in open air areas. There is no known risk to public drinking water. To protect our responding crews, please use caution when traveling in the area and be aware of changing traffic conditions.

Crews were able to place absorbent booms and other materials to prevent the fuel from entering the Bay. At this time, no impacts east of Smith Ranch Road and Yosemite Road have been observed.

Three agents with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife evaluated the impact area on Thursday and had no concerns that the fuel had entered the Bay. Marin County Public Works will continue to work with and follow any guidance from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in response to this incident.

On the day of the incident, Clean Harbors, a company specializing in cleaning up these types of incidents, was called to handle remediation work. This work has included monitoring nearby storm drains and waterways, flushing systems, removing impacted soil, and additional efforts. All contaminated materials will be transported, stored, and disposed of according to all environmental laws, regulations and best management practices.

The smell may last for days or weeks, however it should not be greater than what one may experience while pumping gas at a gas station. Conditions should continue to get better as crews continue to remove impacted materials and vapors will continue to dissipate over time.

Currently businesses in the area are open for business. As road conditions may change, please allow extra time and use caution when visiting the businesses. As clean up and repair efforts evolve, businesses may temporarily close. Consider calling ahead of time to confirm their status.

It is believed that some of the material seeped into cracks in the pavement and is pooled underground. Weather dependent, on Tuesday crews will begin carefully cut into the roadway to gain access to clean up the area beneath. This will create traffic impacts during the operations as well as for repairs. The exact timeline and scope of this operation is dependent on numerous factors, including contractors and partner availability, the amount of found fuel, the access required to remove any contaminated materials, and the road repair work required.

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