Town Center to Address Lake Kittamaqundi Diesel Spill

The village board is hosting a community meeting this week.

Lake Kittamaqundi near Water's Edge
Lake Kittamaqundi near Water's Edge

The Town Center Village Board plans to update the community on the diesel spill into Lake Kittamaqundi at its upcoming meeting.

The spill occurred April 14 because of a malfunction in the generator at Vantage House, the senior living high-rise in the 5400 block of Vantage Point Road, Maryland Department of the Environment reported.

A 100-gallon tank that fuels a backup generator at the Vantage House was the source of the leak, when a glass tube that gauges the tank's fuel level broke, according to Jay Apperson, deputy director of communications for Maryland Department of the Environment.

That tank is fed from a 3,000-gallon storage tank; and as fuel leaked from the 100-gallon tank, Apperson said a switch activated that pumped fuel from the larger tank into the smaller tank. 

The fuel made it into a storm drain system and eventually the lake, Apperson said. 

The Maryland Department of the Environment estimated that 1,000 gallons of fuel leaked and 500 to 600 gallons got into Lake Kittamaqundi, contained in the north end of the lake near the storm drain, according to Apperson.

"We would describe environmental damage at this time as minimal. We did observe about a dozen dead fish," Apperson said.

Vantage House hired an environmental contractor to clean up the site under Maryland Department of the Environment supervision, Apperson said.

The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services responded to the initial call on April 14, and Apperson commended its personnel for containing the spill before the Maryland Department of the Environment and the contractor provided additional boom to contain the leak.

A contractor with a vacuum truck used a hose to collect freestanding fuel from the lake, Apperson said. In addition, absorbents were used to collect the substance, he said.

While the bulk of the cleanup took about a week, containment was expected to continue for several weeks to ensure that any fuel which may emerge from the storm drain gets collected, according to Apperson.

Some residents reportedly smelled diesel fumes in the days following the spill.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, the Town Center Village Board will be joined by the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Chief William Goddard, Howard County Health Officer Maura Rossman and Vantage House representatives for a discussion about the spill and its impacts. The meeting will take place at Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Road, in Columbia.

Related: Diesel Spill Impacted Lake Kittamaqundi


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