Diesel fuel that overflowed a storage tank on the UC Berkeley campus over the weekend made its way three miles down a creek to the Berkeley marina on Monday, but there were no reports that wildlife had been harmed.
An estimated 1,700 gallons spilled in a campus building basement, and about 1,290 gallons of that fuel was pumped into a stormwater system that eventually discharges to Strawberry Creek. Regulators said a light sheen and mousse from the diesel appeared Monday behind 300 feet of booms that was deployed a day earlier to prevent the diesel from entering the marina and San Francisco Bay.
"In terms of the marina, there has been no impact," said Alexia Retallack, spokeswoman for the state Oil Spill Prevention and Response.
Stanley Hall, the largest research building on campus, reopened to faculty and students early Monday after air quality tests determined the building was safe, said UC spokeswoman Janet Gilmore.
The spill was reported Saturday night after a mechanical failure caused a tank that stores diesel for Stanley Hall's emergency backup generator to overflow. Some of the diesel was contained on the first basement level where the storage tank is located but nearly 1,300 gallons flowed to the third basement level, two floors below, and into the building's sump pump.
The backup generator system was installed in 2004.
About 50 people were cleaning up the spill Monday with booms and absorbent material. Retallack said there was a light smell of diesel "here and there" along the creek. Crews were checking drains and laterals connected to the building's sump system to ensure there is no more diesel that could be discharged to the creek.
Strawberry Creek was once highly polluted with sewage. A major environmental rehabilitation program began in 1987 and the creek is now home to newts, banana slugs, egrets and fish.
Much of the creek is underground, but a portion of it is above ground on the university campus and at Strawberry Creek park in the city.
The agencies responding to the spill put absorbing booms in the creek on campus, in Strawberry Creek Park, at Aquatic Park near Interstate 80 and in the bay where the creek ends, Gilmore said.
Staff writer Doug Oakley contributed to this story.