Up to 4,000 litres of oil spill into North Carolina river

Authorities say thousands of gallons of petroleum fuel spilled into a North Carolina the French Broad River.

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Up to 4,000 litres of petroleum fuel spilled into a North Carolina river on Sunday, and officials are warning residents to stay away.

Authorities in Asheville, N. C., said thousands of litres of oil spilled from an aboveground storage tank in the French Broad River. The tank was on the Mountain Energy Bulk Fuel Facility, which is approximately 100 metres from the waterway.

Officials said that the local population should stay away.

“There have been no reports of fish kills in the river. However, an oil sheen, odor, and discoloration can be observed in the areas affected by the spill,” the Buncombe County Health and Human Services said in a statement Monday.

The Asheville Fire department placed a magnetic patch over the hole in the tank and storage drums under the tank to contain the flow, the spokeswoman Kelly Klope told the Asheville-Citizen Times.

“We have a very slow drip and allowed Berg Environmental Services at the reduction of the rest of the fuel in two other trucks,” she said.

They said that the fire department estimated that 4,000 gallons spewed into the river. But a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Division of Waste Management, which is overseeing the cleanup, told the Asheville-Citizen Times the estimate was closer to 1,000 litres. The tank has a capacity of up to 20,000 litres of oil.

Max Kimel, owner of the Mountain Environment, told the newspaper that he estimates the remediation company removed about 16,000 gallons of oil still in the tank.

“People and pets should avoid all contact with water in the French Broad River starting around Jean Webb Park in the River Arts District to downstream areas as far as the City of Marshall,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement. “This includes activities such as swimming, wading, canoeing, or rafting.”

Lucia I. Suarez Sang a Reporter for Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

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