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'Diesel Spring' Remains A Concern For Area Residents

As the plans to renovate Jordan Valley West are getting underway, some residents are worried about a part of Jordan Valley Creek that reeks of petroleum. KSMU’s Mike Donnelly reports.


As soothing as the sound of a running stream may be, this particular spring has something in it that’s not supposed to be there.

At the intersection of College Street and Fort Avenue across from the Art Factory is a path that will take you to a part of Jordan Valley Creek that has a distinct odor.

“All I had to do was follow the smell and there it was. It smells like diesel fuel or some kind of fuel.”

That's Brian Futrell, a concerned Springfield resident. He says on New Years day, he found the part of the creek that's become known as “Diesel Spring.”

Besides the strong smell, the spring also has a noticeable discoloration along the creek bed and on the algae growth around the rim, and when you poke the bottom of the bed with a stick, a heap of discolored bubbles comes up to the surface.

Futrell explains why he thinks residents should be concerned about this.

“Well they should be concerned because, of course, the Jordan Creek goes into the James River which goes into the White River, and eventually into the whole Ozarks. Eventually it’s going to get into springs and wells somewhere along the way, and people are going to start [wondering], if they haven’t noticed already, where that petroleum stuff is coming from, this could be it,” says Futrell.

Todd Wagner, Principle Stormwater Engineer for the City of Springfield, says there's not much the city can do.

“We don’t really have any means to address it. We don’t have a department that works with hazardous-type materials like this,” says Wagner.

However, Wagner says that the city has been involved with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to investigate what's happening here.

“They do have some folks that are looking into it. We’re staying in touch with them and kind of continually monitoring the situation. We’ll be continuing to work with them to try to figure out what’s the cause of this,” he says.

Just north of Diesel Spring is the ongoing Jordan Valley West Meadow park project, where developers plan to cover the old industrial land with a clean layer of dirt so it can be used as a park. The site is a brownfield remediation project, meaning there will be a clean up of contaminates left behind from past industrial activities.

Either way, residents and city officials alike hope they can find a solution to clean up the substance that's causing the “Diesel Spring."

For KSMU News, I’m Mike Donnelly.