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The potential environmental impacts after the jet fuel spill

The potential environmental impacts after the jet fuel spill. (WPEC)

Highly flammable jet fuel oozed into local storm drainage systems and onto roadways after a tanker carrying 8,000 gallons of jet fuel overturned near Florida Mango Road and Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach on Thursday around noon. The accident less than a mile away from Palm Beach International Airport.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection who is in charge of the cleanup says the part of the drainage system where the jet fuel leaked into leads to the Lake Worth Lagoon. Florida Atlantic University Professor Stephen Kajiura says this could be especially harmful to our threatened manatees.

“Their eyes are popping out of the water, their nose is popping out of the water, and their skin is all exposed to this,” said Kajiura.

The D.E.P. says right now the spill appears to be contained within the storm-water system, and there’s no evidence of sheen or impacts to surface water. Still, Professor Kajiura is concerned some jet fuel may find its way from the drainage system into the ocean.

“There may be poisons associated with this sort of jet fuel and that could not only damage the fishes, but the bigger fishes that feed on them, and the birds that feed on the fishes,” said Kaijura.

Crude oil sinks and suspends in water, in comparison jet fuel floats according to Professor Kajiura.

“The nice thing about it floating to the surface is it does make it an easier clean up and so we would be able to mobilize crews to round up the fuel and absorb it,” said Kajiura. He went on to say because it floats it tends to evaporate within days.

According to our latest update, HAZMAT crews recovered least 200 gallons of jet fuel that spilled into the drainage system. The driver of the tanker suffered minor injuries.


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