Jet fuel from last week's fiery tanker explosion in Indianapolis has trickled into Pleasant Run Creek, sparking concerns from nearby residents about the effects on wildlife and water quality.
At the creek near Shadeland Avenue, officials are attempting to sop up fuel that dripped down from the site on an Interstate 465 ramp to I-70 East on the east side where the 4,000-gallon tanker exploded Thursday.
An "undetermined amount" of fuel entered the creek through the interstate's stormwater system, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said. The cleanup area spans from just north of 21st Street to south of Pleasant Run Golf Course, on the north end of the creek that eventually flows into the White River.
Impacts of the jet fuel spill on Pleasant Run Creek depend largely on the amount of fuel spilled and how quickly it was addressed, said Gabriel Filippelli, an earth sciences professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Filippelli, who's spent almost two years researching contamination in the creek from other sources, said jet fuel is often a mix of hundreds of different types of hydrocarbons with varying toxicity.
At the moment, the jet fuel is coming from the surface, meaning it can be cleaned up relatively quickly, Filippelli said. Typically, this kind of fuel wouldn't sink deep into the subsurface soil groundwater — but that doesn't make it impossible.