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Fairfax Crews Plug Gas Leak at Tank Farm

The leak released less than 500 gallons of gasoline.

Gasoline leaked from a pipe at the tank farm on Pickett Road Sunday evening. The leak was not substantial enough to put neighboring homes in harm's way.

Fairfax City and Fairfax County firefighters responded to the Pickett Road Terminal Complex after an employee discovered the leak during a routine inspection. Crews closed off both ends of the damaged pipe and removed the remaining gasoline with a vacuum truck, according to Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson. The leak was stopped by about 11:30 p.m.

All of the gasoline remained within the diked portion of the tank farm terminal.

"Work is now underway to isolate and remove the damaged section of pipe," Wilson said. "Contaminated gravel and soil will be removed from the dike area and will be disposed of in an approved manner."  

Motiva cancelled a gasoline delivery scheduled for 3 a.m. Monday as a precaution.

This incident was minor, as far as Fairfax City's history with the tank farm is concerned. The leak came from a 20-inch diameter pipe that feeds a gasoline storage tank. It left the pipe at about five gallons per minute, amounting to less than 500 gallons of spilled gasoline.

The tank farm has had only one major spill since 1980 but has experienced minor problems over the past four years.

Late last January, one of four companies that use the tank farm discovered a diesel fuel leak on the property. It was contained within the complex.

Last August, a fuel tanker flipped over at Pickett and Main Street while leaving the farm. The incident caused heavy traffic delays. City police, rescue and cleanup crews stopped the mild fuel spill and removed debris from the intersection.

In 1990, an underground leak caused about 250,000 gallons of diesel oil, gasoline and other chemicals to contaminate the surrounding neighborhoods, according to news reports. The cleanup cost hundreds of millions of dollars and troubled Mantua residents for years.

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