A recent gas spill at the BP gas station in Knox was a topic of discussion when members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) met this week.
The LEPC is a group of officials that represent local agencies which respond to emergencies in various capacities.
Members were informed about an incident that occurred at the Zingo Express on US 35 in Knox which resulted in approximately 20 gallons of gas spilling onto the ground.
Some dangers that were noted included that someone could have accidentally ignited the puddle or it could have inched over into the nearby drain.
After some initial confusion about what was required, employees eventually contacted 911. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene and some material was utilized to dry up the gasoline.
The shared concern among members was that employees there seemed unaware of what they were supposed to do. Since the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) won’t respond to a spill involving anything less than 50 gallons, they stressed the importance of local accountability.
Through some research conducted during the meeting, Fire Chief Kenny Pfost was able to locate a statute in the fire code that was applicable to this situation.
He read, “Spill containment systems or means to render a spill harmless to people or property shall be provided where a spill is determined to be a plausible event and where such an event would endanger people or property.”
While discussing the matter further, it was revealed that the store itself is owned by someone different than the tanks and pumps; those belong to Good Oil.
Members addressed the fact that since that is a fairly large corporation, there should be procedures in place to address spills as well as some kind of employee training.
A plan was made to get in contact with officials there to alert them of these concerns with the lack of emergency procedures and mitigation.
In addition to reaching out to Good Oil about this incident specifically, members agreed that other stations in the county should be contacted and required to provide their emergency mitigation plans. They decided to give the stations 30 days to respond to the request to send the information.
It was noted that aside from just having a plan in place, there should also be evidence of employee training and necessary supplies on site.
A suggestion was made to also require gas stations to have their plans printed and posted so that if there are new, untrained employees, they would know how to react in case of an emergency.
Members briefly discussed the potential of proposing an ordinance that would enforce the state regulation and clearly identify what’s expected of local establishments in regards to spills and mitigation.
While officials brought up a possible coordination with the County Attorney Marty Lucas about the matter, no official actions were taken.