– Hunt County Chief Environmental Enforcement Officer Mike Pierce credited quick action by the Celeste Fire Department Sunday night with averting a serious contamination of the Celeste water supply.
According to Pierce, the firemen hand-dug a large hole to catch up to 300 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled into a drainage ditch at 8:40 p.m. Sunday. The spill occurred when a tractor trailer rig wrecked at the US 69 curve on the north side of Celeste.
The hole was dug 10 feet from where the ditch empties into a storm drain that goes to the town's water supply. By 9:45, the hole was completely filled with diesel. Compounding the problem was a steady rain that threatened to wash the spilled fuel further; however TxDOT workers were able to bring in heavy earth-moving equipment and build a temporary dam.
We had a tractor trailer rig miss the curve and hit the guard rail, rupturing its fuel tank. It's a bad curve and we've had several accidents here before, Pierce explained. We think we've got it contained so far, but we'll be out here for a while. I've got an environmental team coming from Arlington to assist with the clean-up; we hope to be done about 2 this morning.
Pierce added that the driver of the rig was injured and had to be transported to the hospital. The final extent of the damage will not be known until additional soil testing can be completed, Pierce said.