Police investigate kerosene dumped into storm drain 

Authorities from the county Department of Environmental Health discovered that 26 gallons of kerosene were dumped illegally into a storm drain at Airport Boulevard and Beach Road, but that the spill posed no threat to San Francisco Bay.

Hazardous material investigators responded to an 8:24 a.m. call from a fisherman who noticed a "rainbow sheen" on the surface of the Bay.

Four empty 5-gallon containers and two 3-gallon containers were found near the drain, said Rocque Yballa, Central County Fire Marshal. But only about two gallons reached the Bay.

"Most of it is stuck in the pipe because it hasn’t been raining the last 24 hours," he said.

Burlingame police have launched a criminal investigation and are interviewing neighbors in order to determine who dumped the fluid.

"We made several contacts with businesses in the area," said police Sgt. Don Shepley. "We think it was dumped over the weekend when some of the businesses were closed."

The drainage pipe feeds into Sanchez Creek, which connects to a lagoon that feeds the Bay.

Yballa said the kerosene was flowing into the Bay at about one gallon an hour before city workers plugged up the drain. He said sunlight evaporates kerosene quickly.

A contractor has been hired to clean about 900 feet of pipe, costing the city about $20,000, said Public Works supervisor Phil Scott.

Kerosene is a thin oil distilled from petroleum or shale oil and used as a fuel or solvent.

bfoley@examiner.com

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