French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson investigates the Hominy Creek oil spill earlier today. Screenshot from a video posted by Asheville GreenWorks.
Yesterday, Feb. 14, thousands of gallons of oil spilled into Hominy Creek. Since then, local individuals and organizations have posted videos investigating the impact of the spill, including questioning if the measures erected to stop the spill from spreading are effective and showing oil entering the French Broad River. The Asheville Citizen-Times has reported that about 5,000 gallons of oil spilled from a container on the property of a construction company.
In these two videos Asheville GreenWorks’ Eric Bradford and Hartwell Carson, WNC Alliance’s French Broad Riverkeeper, investigate the spill at Hominy Creek and the first boom erected to stop the spill at the Sand Hill Road Bridge. While looking at the boom, Carson says that oil is coming through and “there’s a significant amount of oil coming down 20 hours after the spill.”
The videos were posted on local activist Byron Ballard’s Facebook page as part of a larger discussion about the impact of the spill.
Earlier today local Sheri Barker shared a video on Facebook taken this morning, just past the boom, also observing oil was, contrary to initial reports, entering the French Broad River. She later posted “final stop French Broad River Park. Oil clearly visible and stench is high. I am sad and angry.”
Local photographer Bill Rhodes also released photos showing oil near the shore of the French Broad.
A roundup from Ashvegas notes a comment from Buncombe County Commissioner Brownie Newman that Carson estimates 4,000 of the 5,000 gallons spilled reached the French Broad River and identified the source as APAC Atlantic’s Enka asphalt plant.
Initial reports from WLOS indicated that city officials believed the oil had not reached the French Broad. Cleanup efforts are ongoing. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and local government agencies are all on the scene.