This morning at approximately 10 a.m. the Wythe County Consolidated Dispatch Center received an E-911 call from a resident of the Speedwell community who stated that she had observed what appeared to be oil in Sugar Run Creek, a small tributary of Cripple Creek which runs parallel to U.S. Route 21 (Grayson Turnpike).

The Wythe County Emergency Coordinator and Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department were first dispatched to the scene.

Upon arriving at the scene, Jason Kinser, Wythe County’s Emergency Coordinator, confirmed that the waters were in fact contaminated and immediately began implementing containment measures with the aid of the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) was notified and officials from VDEM and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) arrived sometime later.

Officials say they were able to successfully locate the source of the contaminant – a leaking underground heating oil tank on private property.

According to Kinser, Sugar Run Creek will remain unsafe for drinking – both for humans and livestock – for the next three to five days as booms and other containment efforts are in place to purify the waters.

The contaminated area runs from the 5200 block of Grayson Turnpike to Cripple Creek.

Kinser says the sheer ratio of water contained within Cripple Creek versus that of Sugar Run will be enough to dilute any residual amounts not captured by the containment efforts.

“DEQ and other governmental agencies will be monitoring the water over the next week,” said the county’s emergency coordinator, adding, “Farmers should keep their livestock away from the water for three to five days as the contaminated water is filtered.”

The Wythe County Consolidated Dispatch Center has sent a citizen notification alert to the phones of residents who live near the contaminated area.

Click LIKE to share this article with your friends on Facebook!