Rain washes diesel fuel into Lake Merritt


Crews say about 30-50 gallons of diesel spilled, covering 4-5 acres of Lake Merritt. And while fire hazmat crews confirm it is diesel, they still do not know how much spilled and the impact to the environment remains to be seen. The good news is the spill is mostly sheen and is quickly dissipating.

Firefighters got the call Tuesday afternoon and arrived to find a very visible sheen and an extremely strong smell of diesel fuel.

Crews say a storm drain flowing into the lake is the source of the spill, but where exactly the diesel came from to begin with is still unknown. Crews say it could have come from a leaking big rig or even a nearby business with a leaking generator

Crews began laying boom within an hour of receiving the calls to help absorb the diesel.

Firefighters say it's not unusual to see a small amount of oil leak into the lake at the beginning of each rainy season, but this amount at this time of year is almost unheard of.

"Our current efforts right now involve partnering with East Bay Regional Parks, we're deploying oil spill response equipment that we've received within that past couple of years for just this type of situation, we want to make sure we do what we can to protect the ecosystem and the wildlife here," Oakland Fire Department Batallion Chief Darin White said.

Lake Merritt was the first wildlife refuge in North America. The area is home to a large population of Canada geese.

Oakland's emergency response crews are working with outside agencies, like the Department of Fish and Game, to determine what the impacts of this spill are and how to begin cleanup. The Fish and Game response team includes an environmental scientist and an oil spill specialist

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