It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes one of our wrong fuel engineers gets called out to remove the right fuel! On this occasion, our engineer was attending a truck near a service station just off the M5 motorway. The driver had filled up with 600 litres of diesel fuel which was the vehicle tank capacity. After driving away down the slip road back onto the motorway, to his horror the driver then noticed that he had a fuel leak and he was losing diesel onto the road. He pulled over onto the hard shoulder and put a call in to his boss, who then called out the Fuel Medic to assist. It was obviously way too dangerous to drive the vehicle any further so our wrong fuel specialist hastily got himself onto the motorway and found the stricken truck. After some investigation into the problem, our man discovered that the vehicle fuel tank had ruptured which is an extremely rare occurrence as truck fuel tanks are heavily reinforced to carry the huge weight of the fuel; full tanks on big trucks means an extra half a ton of weight to the vehicle!
Our engineer quickly got to work draining the fuel from the truck but even though our mobile unit tank capacity is large, it wasn’t large enough so he needed to make 2 trips back to base to empty the evacuation unit tank. With the job sorted, the truck could then be towed away for repair work and the clean up work began on the spilled fuel to stop it getting onto the motorway lane and causing a skid hazard.
The boss of the haulage firm concerned was able to call out one of our wrong fuel engineers to assist with the situation as they all have authorisation from the Environment Agency and have been fully trained (on an ongoing basis) to handle hazardous chemicals such as diesel. A diesel spillage such as this can be additionally dangerous because when it rains, the diesel can be spread onto the motorway with the water. This makes the road surface even more slippery than normal due to the oil content of the diesel fuel. This makes driving conditions more hazardous than normal, particularly in wet weather.