NC health dept deems river safe two weeks after fuel oil spill

Written on: February 20, 2018 by ICM

Article courtesy: Citizen Times, Asheville, NC
, [email protected]

ASHEVILLE, NC – The French Broad River from the River Arts District north to Marshall is once again deemed safe for recreational use.

The Buncombe County Health and Human Services, in conjunction with N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health and N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources, lifted the recreational water use advisory for the 20-mile section of river Monday night.

The advisory was issued after a discharge of home heating fuel leaked from a Mountain Energy storage tank at 288 Lyman St. during the afternoon and evening of Feb. 4.

The facility sits about 100 feet from the river near the intersection of Lyman and Riverside Drive. At least 1,000 gallons entered into the French Broad River, causing red pools of diesel fuel, oil sheen and strong odors.

People were warned to not have any contact with the river water, including swimming, wading, paddling, fishing, or allowing pets near the water.

The home heating fuel company was issued notices of violation by the state for discharging without a permit and is in the process of remediation along the affected areas of river and streambanks.

Health officials said they lifted the recreational water use advisory based on recent water quality testing by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality that shows no volatile compounds and no visible oil sheen has been observed on the water.

MORE: DEQ report: Excessive toxin levels found in French Broad River after fuel spill