Palm City, Fla. – An unidentified diesel spill has resulted in a noxious odor permeating the vicinity of the St. Lucie C-44 Canal in Palm City. On Wednesday at approximately 9 p.m., the personnel from Martin County Fire Rescue Station 22 promptly responded to the location, which encompasses the Highland Reserve subdivision adjacent to the Willis Marina. Moreover, this area lies in close proximity to the intersection of Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 95.
According to spokesman Cory Pippin, the firefighters conducted a thorough investigation for over an hour but were unable to ascertain the origin or cause of the “very small sheen” that was observed. Subsequently, the Department of Environmental Protection and the sheriff’s office environmental unit were promptly notified of the incident.
Local resident Larry Colson informed WPTV that his wife Paula first detected a pungent gasoline-like odor on Tuesday but was uncertain of its source. However, the situation escalated significantly on Wednesday, when they noticed a dark layer of film on the river behind their residence. Colson explained, “That’s when we first started to notice it. It became really evident Wednesday. As we walked on the dock, we could clearly see some sort of petroleum product. It looks like diesel.”
Due to the overpowering stench, the Colsons were unable to access their backyard for several days. However, the odor has since dissipated to a tolerable level, allowing them to venture outside. On Saturday morning, WPTV photojournalist Jeff Ringrose captured footage of the affected area.
Colson mentioned that in the three years of residing in Palm City, he had never encountered such a foul odor before. Additionally, Paula Colson had a conversation with an individual from the Florida Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss the situation. Preliminary investigations suggest that the diesel spill may have originated from a boat, although concrete evidence is yet to be established.
The residents of Palm City eagerly await further updates from the authorities regarding the investigation, as the spill not only poses an environmental concern but also raises questions about potential health hazards for the community.