Monday, June 11, 2007

The Green Miles Investigates: Metro Bus Lot Oil

Blogs often remind me of my dad's favorite New Yorker cartoon, illustrating both management's self-importance and self-imposed impotence.

Bloggers can be eager to point out problems, but reluctant to do anything to solve them. It's a shame because having a blog that's well-read, respected, or both gives you more a much louder voice than that of the average person.

The Green Miles has always tried to find solutions whenever possible, like back in March when Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment & OneBrick volunteers found a trash dumping problem along Four Mile Run. We alerted the Parks Department, the business involved agreed to clean up the trash, and the Parks Dept. will monitor that area more closely in the future.
Last week, I was walking down to Front Page in Ballston to meet a friend for brunch. It was raining hard, and I noticed an oil slick running down the driveway of the Metro bus parking lot at the corner of Wilson and N. Quincy. I took cell phone camera pictures of the slick, which didn't capture the bright rainbow very well, but give you an idea of how big it looked.

I thought the photos might be blog-worthy, but didn't want to just post it and never have the problem (if there was one) get solved. So I emailed the photos to a friend in the Arlington environmental community with a note saying, "Does this look like a typical runoff from a busy bus lot after a heavy rain, or could it be something more serious?"

She wrote back saying it looked like it was more than just residual oil. I then looked up the email of a Metro spokesperson on the Metro website and emailed the photos to her.

She immediately wrote back to say she'd contact the Bus Department, whose response came in less than two hours:

A bus blew a transmission oil filter gasket last week while parked at the Wilson Blvd. gate. The spilled transmission fluid was contained and cleaned with floor scrubber. Apparently the product remained in the concrete and cobblestone and when we experienced the weekend rains the fluid came to the surface. We will have the area reinspected and cleaned.
The spill is unfortunate, but it's nice that Metro responded so quickly and plans to follow it up with action.
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