5,000 gallon diesel fuel spill in Meridian, most of it contained

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -- Emergency management officials tell us they have contained a 5,000 gallon diesel fuel spill that happened while Norfolk Southern was fueling up a tanker in Meridian.

The incident happened around 5:30 Thursday morning. The Meridian Fire Department was the first agency on the scene.

Meridian Public Safety Director Doug Stephens says some of the fuel did make it into the Sowashee Creek, but most of it was contained before it got there.

"I don't think there's any concern for life and health to our residents," said Stephens. "We've done a very good job of maintaining what has been spilled, they're doing a clean up over there at the norfolk southern yard.

"The drainage deposited straight into a tributary that went into Sowashee, and that is where the product has been captured," said Stephens.

Around cleanup crews were busy along North Frontage Road near 49th Avenue making sure the fuel didn't make it downstream.

Crews from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Enhanced Environmental and Emergency Services were on hand cleaning up the spill along with the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency.

LEMA Director John Williamson says the cleanup process will continue a couple more days.

"With the waterways being involved, it was very important to get people here fast to get containment of the product and that was done very well by the Meridian Fire Department," said Willliamson.

"The citizens can expect to see us out cleaning this up for the next several days," said Williamson. "This is not something that will be complete Wednesday. It's going to take a couple of days to get everything back to normal."

Norfolk Southern released this statement:

"It is currently estimated that about 4,000 to 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled. The diesel fuel is readily identifiable, which will aid response personnel in its recovery (non-highway use diesel fuel is dyed red). The diesel fuel entered a stormwater drain and a creek, but booms have been deployed and the fuel is contained. Based on current information, no impacts have been observed beyond approximately 1 mile from the rail yard and there are no known impacts outside the creek. The cause is still under investigation."