11,000+ gallons of gas spill into ground, stream

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A big gasoline spill is raising questions about water and air quality in Henrico's west end. Meanwhile, cleanup crews are beginning their third week on the scene.

The leak started in an underground tank beneath the BP gas station at Patterson Ave. and Gaskins Rd. By the time a cleanup crew could get there, at least 11,000 gallons spilled (possibly up to 15,000 gallons). A lot of it went into a nearby stream.

It started on or about March 3, when somebody noticed gas leaking from a manhole cover. The fuel got into the ground and the water...just steps from a pediatric office, and insurance agency.

"Well, I'd like to know how they're gonna get 11,000 gallons of fuel out of the ground?" said Tammy Stough of Cary-Wheeler & Associates, Inc.

8,000 gallons were sucked out the night of the leak. But the fuel also seeped into a sewer line, and vapors were smelled at an upscale French restaurant (Chez Max) almost a mile down the road. The problem was soon fixed - allowing the Department of Environmental Quality to focus on bigger issues.

"We don't believe that there are any wells in the immediate area at risk, that's one of the things we look at," said Rick Weeks, Chief Deputy of the DEQ.

The DEQ says there is no danger to the public water supply, and efforts remain underway to verify the safety of the environment. Nearly three weeks after it began, the taxpayer-funded clean up appears to be making progress.

"We've had biologists walk the stream a couple of times. We haven't found any environmental damage to the stream," Weeks said.

Stough added, "They've had several vehicles and construction people there working. But it's really not caused us any effect here."

Workers were able to find the leak, and it's been fixed. A worker on-site said they're in the final stages of cleanup now.

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