University conducts oil spill drill

By Angelina Cole

At 9 a.m. Thursday, the University conducted a simulation oil spill exercise. The drill involved personnel from the Champaign, Urbana and Savoy fire departments and tested their response strategy in the event of fuel leaking into the steam tunnels and water systems flowing to Boneyard Creek and the Embarras River.

A dye, which simulated the oil spill, was put into the water system near the actual oil tank farm that is located just west of the E-14 campus parking lot. The farm holds two million gallons of oil, which feed into the Abbott Power Plant.

“The drill will simulate a leak detected in the steam tunnels as it branches out to Boneyard and the county,” said Captain John Barker of the Champaign Fire Department.

“The fire department protects life and property. We’ll be testing different areas and setting up booms and keep the fuel oil from moving (further into the waterways).”

However, as of 10:30 a.m., none of the units were able to respond to the simulation. Although materials and manpower were at the ready, action had yet to be taken because the dye was not detected.