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Updates on the French Broad River Kerosene Spill from Our Riverkeeper

French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson and Watershed Outreach Coordinator Anna Alsobrook are actively monitoring the kerosene spill that occurred on Sunday, February 4 at Mountain Energy’s bulk fuel facility at 288 Lyman Street in Asheville when a storage tank leaked between 1,000 and 4,000 gallons of fuel into the French Broad River.

Health officials have warned paddlers, dog walkers and anglers to stay out of the French Broad River from the Amboy Road Bridge north in Asheville to downtown Marshall while the fuel spill is being cleaned up. The remaining fuel in the 20,000 gallon storage tanks were then pumped by Mountain Environmental Services into two tanker trucks.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the Asheville Fire Department responded to the incident on Sunday and placed a magnetic patch over the hole and salvage drums under the tank to contain the flow. Over the past four days, it appears that the sheen on the river’s surface has been dissipating.

We will follow up with further updates as necessary. You can also follow the French Broad Riverkeeper at:

Update Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 1:32 p.m:
From MountainTrue’s Anna Alsobrook who is on site: “It looks and smells better. There is still a moderate smell of fumes at the leak site, but Craven Street and Pearson Bridges seem good.”

Update Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.:
From First Coat Energy: A total of approximately 25 tons of contaminated soil were excavated and removed. The stormwater pipe was plugged, so no product can flow from the AST containment area to the river. The pipe was flushed with water and the effluent was vacuumed into a tanker truck. Contaminated water from the underflow dam was also vacuumed. Mountain Environmental Services personnel remain on site to monitor absorbent pads and booms. No sheen is currently observed at or directly downstream of the stormwater pipe and underflow dam. It appears that remediation efforts have thus far been successful as heating oil is no longer emanating from the site into the river.

Update Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.:
From Department of Environmental Quality – Division of Water Resources: They have not observed a discernible sheen today which is very likely due to river conditions (elevated level, increased turbidity, etc.). These observations are in contrast to yesterday’s noted conditions that occurred during low flow with the sheen visible along the east bank and from the site down to Craven Street. We believe there is potential to see more sheen once the river level decreases again so we will continuing monitoring.



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MountainTrue members help protect our forests, water and air, and have the opportunity to hike with experts, volunteer to monitor streams, maintain our amazing Paddle Trail along the French Broad River, and clear trails in the national forest. Have fun with us, learn more about the incredible natural treasures of our region, and make a difference in your community. 

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