The contamination was discovered Saturday, Nov. 1, in the North Fork of the Kentucky River, a little more than a mile upstream of the city water intake. Officials are not yet releasing the name of the person or persons responsible, but preliminary tests showed the petroleum came from contaminated dirt dumped near the riverbank, Letcher County Emergency Management Director Paul Miles said.
The contamination is the second spill of diesel fuel in the county in the past few months. Earlier this year, a tanker truck belonging to J. Follace Oil Company and carrying more than 7,000 gallons of fuel crashed on Kentucky Highway 15 at Van. The impact of the wreck cracked open the tanker and spilled its contents onto the highway. A heavy rain shortly after the accident washed much of that fuel into Smoot Creek, were county Emergency Management workers constructed an underflow dam to contain the spill. The resulting oil slick was thought to have been stopped before it reached the North Fork of the Kentucky. Smoot Creek’s confluence with the North Fork is far downstream from the Whitesburg water intake, but upstream of the Blackey Water Treatment Plant.
In that case, the road was closed for about nine hours, and the highway had to be resurfaced weeks later because fuel was still seeping out of the asphalt. Roadside dirt contaminated by that spill was dug up and disposed of in a licensed landfill at Ivel, EMS Director Miles said.
Posted by Sam