Ethanol Leaking From Tanker In Phoenix Rail Yard

By  Stina Sieg
January 03, 2014

(Photo courtesy of the Phoenix Fire Department)
The Phoenix Fire Department and other responders were at the site of a leaking railroad car located near 13th Street and Lincoln early Friday morning.
(Photo courtesy of the Phoenix Fire Department)
Phoenix firefighters were on the scene.

An ethanol leak from a railcar near downtown Phoenix was stemmed Friday afternoon after more than 11 hours, but the clean-up is just beginning. An estimated that 12,000 to 15,000 thousand gallons of ethanol seeped into the ground at a Union Pacific rail yard. That is before firefighters were able to capture the remaining contents of the 30,000-gallon tanker.

Randy Matas is with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. He said that whoever is deemed at fault for the leak is legally required to clean it up.

"As long as they get on it with the remedial activity, there shouldn’t be any issues, even if the entire tanker released," Matas explained. "It’s going to be a bigger clean up, but the principles are really the same, regardless of the size of the release."

Remedial activity includes excavating contaminated soil. Matas said that is the same kind of clean-up effort used for oil and gas spills, but ethanol is less dangerous than many other fuels. While ethanol is flammable, firefighters said there was no risk for explosions during the leak. More than 100 fire and safety personnel responded to the scene.

Updated 1/3/2014 4:45 p.m.