JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Authorities say workers at Joint Base Charleston and other agencies are actively responding to a fuel leak that happened at the base and leaked into an off-base ditch.
JBC officials say the leak happened on Wednesday at 6:31 p.m. and was the result of a mechanical failure.
According to JBC officials, an estimated 1,200 gallons of fuel, called Jet Fuel A, escaped through a storm drain as a result of torrential rains during the clean-up effort, transporting the fuel under Dorchester Road and into an off-base ditch.
A press release by JBC says the base's emergency response contractor, Moran Environmental Recovery, was immediately notified and deployed to the areas impacted off base.
JBC officials say as of Friday morning, cleanup is still underway at a drainage ditch that runs between Jerry Zucker Middle School and Great Oak and North Palm view Drives near the Ashley River Commons neighborhood.
"We have three priorities in responding to the leak: the health and safety of residents and cleanup crews, an expeditious clean-up, and preventing further spills," said Col. Jeffrey DeVore, 628th Air Base Wing commander.
Although Jet Fuel A is not a carcinogen and poses no immediate health risks, prolonged exposure may cause irritation to the eyes and skin, and it is extremely harmful if swallowed, according to DHEC and EPA officials.
Military officials say as a precautionary measure residents and members of the community are encouraged to stay clear of the drainage ditch until cleanup efforts are complete.
JBC officials say a multi-pronged team comprised of base civil engineers and members of the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Health and Environmental Control and Moran Environmental Recovery have been working together to control and remove the spilled fuel.
"We understand the sensitivity surrounding a fuel leak," DeVore said. "I want to thank our local neighbors for their patience as we continue the clean-up effort."