Illegally Dumped Diesel Fuel Found in Tygart River
Water operators contained a small amount of diesel fuel dumped by an unknown person
On Friday, city, county, and state officials responded to a report of an oily sheen in the Tygart River, near Fifteenth Street.
Elkins Water Board employees determined that the sheen was caused by a small amount of diesel fuel in the river. Water operators immediately took action to contain and neutralize the spill, then investigated for the source of the problem.
No ongoing source of contamination was found, and the facts of the situation are consistent with an unknown person having illegally dumped a limited amount of fuel into a nearby storm drain. The substance in question did not enter the city’s treatment system, and the city’s drinking water was unaffected.
Chief Water Operator Wes Lambert reminds the public that it is illegal to dispose of any substances down storm drains, and additional penalties apply for disposing of petroleum products this way. This is because most of the city’s storm drains empty directly into the river, with no treatment; whatever is poured down one of these drains will go directly into the water.
“The Tygart River is our drinking source water,” says Lambert. “We all must do everything we can to protect that water. That means not dumping anything at all down storm drains, and especially not hazardous waste like petroleum products. Dumping into the stormwater system or the river directly can also harm wildlife and cause problems with drains.”
According to the Randolph County Solid Waste Authority, petroleum products may be disposed of at either Advance Auto Parts or Auto Zone. Other auto-supply stores and service stations may also accept petroleum products for disposal.
Lambert urges the public to report any illegal dumping, signs of contamination (e.g., an oily sheen), or suspicious activity in and around city infrastructure facilities.
“If you see anything that concerns you about our water supply, the best thing to do is call 911,” says Lambert. “When it comes to our drinking water, I would rather be safe than sorry, and calling 911 is the best way to ensure the fastest possible response.”
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