Update on Haywood County fuel spill

Press release from Haywood County Emergency Services:

A significant diesel fuel spill has impacted Haywood County waterways and agricultural property over the weekend.

The spill was reported around 8 p.m. Saturday, May 25 in Jones Cove Branch, Clyde. Junaluska Fire Department, supported by the Clyde Fire Department, responded and identified diesel fuel in the creek.

The spill appeared to be fairly large and recent; the caller reported seeing the fuel start coming down the creek just before contacting 911.

At 8:20 p.m., support from Haywood County Emergency Services was requested.

Response and Containment Efforts:
By 9 p.m. fire personnel traced the source of the fuel to the storm water system from Haywood Regional Medical Center.

Further investigation by Haywood Regional Medical Center staff and fire personnel revealed that possible equipment failure had caused the fuel to enter the storm drain system. The active fuel leak was stopped at 9:10 p.m. An estimated 2,231 gallons of dyed diesel fuel had entered the system and eventually made its way into the Jones Cove Branch.

Haywood County Emergency Services promptly contacted NC Emergency Management and requested the North Carolina Regional Response Team 6 (RRT-6) from Asheville Fire Department to create a containment plan. The necessary regulatory authorities were notified through NC Emergency Management.

Absorbent spill booms were deployed across Jones Cove Branch and Richland Creek by the Junaluska Fire Department, with assistance from the Crabtree and Clyde Fire Departments and Haywood County Emergency Services.

Upon RRT-6’s arrival, a comprehensive containment plan was developed, which included additional absorbent booms and the construction of an underflow dam at Jones Cove Branch near Summit Blvd.
Thanks to the efforts of NC Department of Transportation crews with the assistance of Town of Waynesville staff containment measures were completed by 3 a.m. on Sunday, May 26.

“We are grateful to the swift assistance of all the partner agencies who helped contain the spill as quickly as possible. Due to their significant assistance, the majority of the spill was successfully contained above the constructed underflow dam,” said Travis Donaldson, Emergency Services Director.

Environmental and Health Measures:
Early in the incident, Haywood Regional Medical Center contacted Hepaco, an environmental hazmat contractor, who began arriving on-site by 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 26. Hepaco’s vacuum trucks started removing the spilled diesel fuel by 4 a.m. Additional specialized containment booms were placed, and existing booms were reinforced.
On the morning of May 26, Haywood County Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with Haywood County Emergency Services, issued a water advisory notice regarding the incident and water safety in the affected areas downstream.

The NC Department of Environmental Quality – Water Resources Division (NC DEQ) arrived on-site on Sunday morning, May 26, and monitored cleanup measures throughout the day. The NC Department of Agriculture and local agricultural representatives were contacted to support affected farmers.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Agent arrived on-site around 4 p.m. on Sunday to start reviewing the incident, the measures in place, and provide additional guidance.

Ongoing and Future Actions:
During the early morning hours of Monday, May 27, approximately 1 inch of rainfall caused creek levels in the spill area to rise, flushing the remaining pockets of standing fuel into the containment booms. Contractors removed the fuel throughout the day on Monday. Environmental contractors will continue additional cleaning and remediation efforts over the next several weeks. Regulatory and environmental protection agencies will monitor the spill site until all hazards are fully mitigated.

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.