WV DEP and Greenbrier County officials have issued a reassuring report that cleanup crews were able to contain the diesel fuel from the accident which occurred at Bartow in Pocahontas County Tuesday afternoon when a tanker truck overturned spilling approximately 7,800 gallons of diesel fuel into the Greenbrier River.
According to Pocahontas County 911 Director Shawn Dunbrack, the driver of the truck belonging to Petroleum Carriers, LLC was unhurt. Diesel spilled into the Greenbrier River but fire departments and the Department of Environmental Protection arrived very quickly and using booms and baffles were able to to keep the spill from moving downstream.
As reported in the Pocahontas Times, all county fire departments responded and were assisted by fire crews from Lewisburg, Circleville, Valley Head as well as the Regional Hazmat Team from Clarksburg. Rt. 250 remained closed late Tuesday. Rts. 28 and 92 provided detours around the accident site.
It was estimated that clean-up would take 24 hours. With a rate of flow in the river of 2 miles per hour, authorities expected that it would be early Wednesday before the flow would travel the 60 river miles into Greenbrier County.
Greenbrier County 911 director Al Whitaker said the DEP jumped on the spill within a half an hour. The EOC and State Health Department were also involved, he said, adding that since then he has received “10,000 calls” from concerned county residents.
Lewisburg was the first major water system to be affected by the spill. Whitaker said observers at the Denmar Corrections Center served as Lewisburg’s primary contacts on stand-by watching for any spill materials heading downstream allowing Lewisburg a 12 hour notice should evidence of diesel fuel still show up.
Lewisburg director of Public Works, Mark Carver said immediately after the accident occurred he and Whitaker activated Greenbrier County’s Public Action Plan. As a precaution, the water intake at Lewisburg was closed early Wednesday morning at 3 a.m. to ensure that no pollutants would be sucked into the public water system during the night. At 7 feet below the surface of the water, Carver said, the intake valve is well away from surface-floating pollutants.
Renick mayor Patrick Roberts said he has been in touch with Lewisburg mayor John Manchester who affirmed that the storage tanks for citizens of Renick, Lewisburg and Ronceverte have 3.5 to 4 million gallons in reserve, enough for three days if needed. By early Wednesday the DEP reported the spill had been contained with on-going monitoring and the taking of water samples.
Lewisburg reopened the intake valve at 9:15 Wednesday morning following the report from the WVDEP that the spill had been contained. That information was confirmed by Al Whitaker of the Greenbrier County Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Confirmation from authorities also reported no discernible impact detected on wildlife.