Love's Travel Stop 355 Diesel Release
March 10, 2022 Update
The spill response at the Love’s Travel Stop 355 in Memphis continues. The expanse of the response has been reduced to the facility and off-site impacts in the unnamed tributary leading to Silver Creek. Response activities on Silver Creek have concluded with no visible petroleum or sheen being observed. As a precautionary measure, containment boom is being maintained where the unnamed tributary enters Silver Creek along with numerous containment measures within the unnamed tributary to capture spilled diesel. Spill contractors and environmental consultants continue to cleanup impacts to the unnamed tributary, investigate the extent of subsurface impacts, and implement control measures to prevent the infiltration and discharge of diesel fuel from the subsurface to the facility’s underground stormwater collection pipes that discharge to the unnamed tributary. Love’s continues integrity testing of the UST system to ensure the failure point(s) are identified and repaired. Due to the age and size of the system, this testing is proving difficult. To date, IDEM has not authorized Love’s to resume dispensing diesel fuel.
On Thursday, Feb 10, 2022, at 11:00am the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Emergency Response section (ER) received notification from the Clark County Health Department of diesel fuel emerging from the ground and flowing along an un-named drainage ditch in front of the Memphis Christian Church. IDEM ER promptly deployed and identified a mixture of diesel fuel and stormwater being discharged from the Love’s Travel Stop 355 (Love’s) located at 13615 Blue Lick Road, Memphis, Indiana. Upon discovery, IDEM required Love’s to initiate a spill response and cease diesel fuel dispensing until the source of the release had been conclusively determined and any necessary repairs of the underground storage tank (UST) system are completed.
What is the impact?
The petroleum impacts extend from the un-named ditch into Silver Creek. Approximately 6.5 miles of petroleum sheening with pockets of diesel fuel have been observed along Silver Creek. Love’s initiated a response to identify the source of the UST system failure and to cleanup all associated impacts. The cleanup efforts have been extensive involving a large crew of personnel who specialize in spill cleanup. Emergency response efforts will continue until impacts to surface water have been successfully cleaned up.
There have been no observed impacts to fish or wildlife. As a precautionary measure, the local water utility, under advice of IDEM, have conducted testing of the potable water supply distribution lines and have observed no adverse impacts to the drinking water.
What is the cause?
At present, the specific cause of the UST system failure is still under evaluation and Love’s has not resumed diesel fuel dispensing. The UST system is comprised of underground storage tanks and underground piping leading to the dispensers. It appears that the release was not an acute, catastrophic failure of any tank, but the result of chronic release(s) from the underground piping for an unknown duration of time. The quantity of fuel released is still being investigated.
The emergency response cleanup operations are expected to last for several more weeks. Once emergency response efforts are complete, the Love’s station will be required to undertake subsurface investigation and cleanup to address threats to groundwater. Long-term remediation oversight will be provided by IDEM’s Petroleum Remediation Section.