NEW ORLEANS – A backup storage tank at the Sewerage and Water Board's Claiborne facility is leaking diesel fuel into the 17th Street Canal, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Wednesday afternoon.
The fuel was first spotted in the canal, near Pump Station 6 late Tuesday night.
Three hazardous waste trucks were seen sucking up some type of liquid from the Sewerage and Water Board Power Plant around noon Wednesday. An Eyewitness News crew also said that the Office of Homeland Security was on the scene.
Fire Department Chief Tim McConnell said that they have confirmed that the fuel in the canal is coming from a one-million gallon diesel fuel tank that is used as backup fuel for the plant, which powers many of the city's east bank pump stations.
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Crews are currently running "smoke tests," according to McConnell, to find the leak.
He emphasized that the water is safe to drink and there is no threat to public safety.
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An Eyewitness News crew working on a story about what appeared to be fuel in the 17th Street Canal near Pumping Station 6, decided to follow the sheen and it led them to the Sewerage and Water Board Power Plant where they saw the trucks appearing to suck up a liquid through a red pipe and into the OMI trucks.
OMI is a company that is used to clean up hazardous waste.