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Wheatland residents concerned drinking water could be contaminated after gasoline spill

(WHAM photo)

Wheatland, N.Y. (WHAM) - Some residents in Wheatland are concerned their drinking water might be contaminated after a van crashed with a tanker truck Monday, spilling more than 500 gallons of gasoline onto the ground.

Karen McKay, who lives across the street, isn’t taking any chances. She refuses to drink her well water.

"We're concerned, and my neighbors are concerned about the gasoline and the fuel that spilled into the ground only a couple hundred feet from our well, our water supply," McKay said.

She's worried her drinking water could be contaminated after the collision between a medical van and a NOCO fuel tanker at the intersection of Scottsville-Mumford and Wheatland Center Roads.

She’s not alone. Her neighbor, Laurie Massaro, is also concerned.

"Our well is only 50 feet deep and it's from an underground spring, and clay can hold more fluid than dirt,” said Massaro.

Crews for the NOCO tanker were out Tuesday morning, removing the contaminated dirt from the crash site.

Monroe County Emergency Manager Tim Kohlmeier said the amount of gasoline spilled was small, and there was no runoff from the site.

“The Monroe County hazmat team responded and did an evaluation of the overturned tanker to determine extent of spill, and determined it wasn't flowing downstream,” said Kohlmeier. “It was just being absorbed locally in the soil."

Some neighbors, however, still have questions and concerns about their safety.

“Nobody has talked to us, or even mentioned anything to us in regard to contamination,” said Massaro. "It’s very upsetting. We don't know who to reach out to. We don’t know who to talk to."

A spokesperson from the DEC tells 13WHAM it has no reason to believe any water supplies were affected.

“They should be reaching out to us, at least give some caution, so they can let people know the hazard of ingesting the water," said McKay.

Monroe County's Health Department also believes there's no cause for concern since the nearest homes are a couple hundred feet away and the cleanup response was so quick. The county is encouraging anyone to contact them if they notice their water has an odor or odd taste.

Meantime, the spokesperson for the DEC say it will continue to monitor the situation.

The DECs full statement is below:

An estimated 540 gallons of gasoline were lost to the ground. NOCO’s contractor is excavating the soil to remove all contaminated soils, which will be transported to a local landfill for appropriate disposal. DEC continues to monitor the situation and oversee the removal of the contaminated soils.
DEC has no reason to believe any water supplies have been affected. Residents in the area are encouraged not to drink well water and to contact DEC if well water has an oily odor. Notify the NYSDEC Spill Hotline at (800) 457-7362.
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