News

Hazardous materials spill reported at the Veterans Hospital

Diesel incident was mostly contained, Palo Alto Fire Department says

For the second time in less than three weeks, diesel fuel spilled at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System campus on Miranda Avenue. Embarcadero Media file photo.

Update: On Nov. 9, the city of Palo Alto said additional sampling is required to determine the extent of cleanup. The area is now covered to protect the soil from rain.

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For the second time in three weeks, the Palo Alto Fire Department on Thursday afternoon responded to a hazardous materials spill at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Battalion Chief Shane Yarbrough said.

Multiple units, including three engines, went to the VA Hospital at 3801 Miranda Ave. in Palo Alto at about 2:53 p.m. VA staff were testing generators in an outbuilding when a fuel line broke, spilling diesel fuel, Yarbrough said. About 95% of the fuel remained within the containment container and a small amount leaked outside the structure onto soil.

A city of Palo Alto online notification stated that 20 to 40 gallons spilled inside the generator cabinet. The Palo Alto Fire Department is investigating the incident, which closed out the initial call after about an hour.

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Yarbrough said the Fire Department tested the soil, and the contaminated area was cleaned up.

"There was no plume into the creek, and none of the diesel went into the storm drain," he said.

Thursday's incident is the second at the VA in less than three weeks. About 50 to 100 gallons of diesel spilled from a storage tank on Oct. 14.

That incident was preceded by a spill on May 6, 2021, which contaminated at least a 600-foot section of Matadero Creek and required months of cleanup and oversight.

Additional updates will be provided as more details are available.

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Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Hazardous materials spill reported at the Veterans Hospital

Diesel incident was mostly contained, Palo Alto Fire Department says

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Nov 3, 2022, 7:07 pm
Updated: Thu, Nov 10, 2022, 3:15 pm

Update: On Nov. 9, the city of Palo Alto said additional sampling is required to determine the extent of cleanup. The area is now covered to protect the soil from rain.

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For the second time in three weeks, the Palo Alto Fire Department on Thursday afternoon responded to a hazardous materials spill at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Battalion Chief Shane Yarbrough said.

Multiple units, including three engines, went to the VA Hospital at 3801 Miranda Ave. in Palo Alto at about 2:53 p.m. VA staff were testing generators in an outbuilding when a fuel line broke, spilling diesel fuel, Yarbrough said. About 95% of the fuel remained within the containment container and a small amount leaked outside the structure onto soil.

A city of Palo Alto online notification stated that 20 to 40 gallons spilled inside the generator cabinet. The Palo Alto Fire Department is investigating the incident, which closed out the initial call after about an hour.

Yarbrough said the Fire Department tested the soil, and the contaminated area was cleaned up.

"There was no plume into the creek, and none of the diesel went into the storm drain," he said.

Thursday's incident is the second at the VA in less than three weeks. About 50 to 100 gallons of diesel spilled from a storage tank on Oct. 14.

That incident was preceded by a spill on May 6, 2021, which contaminated at least a 600-foot section of Matadero Creek and required months of cleanup and oversight.

Additional updates will be provided as more details are available.

Comments

felix
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 1:33 pm
felix, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 1:33 pm

Thank you for covering the ongoing toxic spills by the VA. As you say, the 2nd in 3 weeks. What is to be done given Palo Alto has no enforcement jurisdiction over federal property? Yet this simply can't continue - another spill into Matadero Creek seems inevitable given time.

The VA clearly is unable or not interested in controling it's diesel fuel. What of other toxics it stores and uses? Years ago it was solvent spilled into the Creek. I don't know the answer, but surely there is a way to exert control over the VA.


MyFeelz
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Nov 5, 2022 at 2:11 pm
MyFeelz, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2022 at 2:11 pm

@felix, the VA is accountable to no one locally or even in the State. The reports in local newspapers barely touch on the subject of the incident(s) that happen there. In order to fully understand what happens at ANY VA facility, you have to make a request under FOIA rules to ask. Once you start running on that hamster wheel, they keep you chasing until you exhaust yourself. All we will ever know is what's written in the reports (detailed above) by local agencies that provided aid to contain an environmental disaster.


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