The Washington Township Fire Department was dispatched at 7:52 AM on the morning of January 12th to investigate diesel fumes in the area of 901 Route 168. A few minutes earlier, fire department units in Gloucester Township, Camden County had been dispatched for a similar incident in the Lakeland area and Blackwood Lake. Fire crews from both agencies discovered a strong odor similar to diesel fuel oil and noticed a sheen of oil on the various bodies of water including both sides of the Grenloch Lake, Blackwood Lake and the streams leading to and from both of these lakes. The Grenloch lake empties into a stream and ultimately into Blackwood Lake.
At approximately 8:45 AM with both Gloucester Township and Washington Township affected by the spill of an unknown origin, a joint Unified Command Post was established at the Lakeland Complex with various agency representatives and jurisdictions present. Firefighters from both Washington Township and Gloucester Township along with personnel from Camden County Health Department's HAZMAT unit and Gloucester County's HAZMAT unit began placing absorbent boom material in various locations along the water way to start absorbing the oil sheen. Other fire fighters and technicians began the search up stream to find the source of the spill.
At approximately 10:00 AM, fire fighters from Washington Township FD and a technician from Camden County HAZMAT discovered the source to be located at the NJ Transit Bus Garage located in Washington Township on Route 42 near the entrance to the Atlantic City Expressway. Concurrently, Bus Garage personnel were discovering that their in ground fuel tanks had lost their product and had leaked out. It was determined that approximately 26,000 gallons of diesel fuel had leaked out of the tanks through a ruptured gasket. The flow of fuel made its way to storm drains that ultimately lead into Grenloch Lake. NJ Transit officials secured a private oil spill and recovery company, Clean Ventures, to assist local officials in mitigating the incident.