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People living near Tinker Creek Waterway urged to stay out until spill is cleaned

Cleanup underway of spill in Tinker Creek Waterway in Roanoke and Vinton
Cleanup underway of spill in Tinker Creek Waterway in Roanoke and Vinton(Roanoke Emergency Management)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 2:50 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A warning has been issued to people who use or live near the Tinker Creek Waterway in Roanoke and Vinton.

The warning comes from the City of Roanoke, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).

July 13, Roanoke Environmental Management and Roanoke Stormwater, along with DEQ and Norfolk-Southern, began monitoring a sheen on a small tributary to Tinker Creek flowing along Campbell Ave SE. Crews began to look for the source of the sheen, now determined to be diesel fuel, and petroleum collection booms were put in place to limit the spread.

Rainfall this week caused levels of the sheen, and its odor, to increase and spread from Lick Run into Tinker Creek. This prompted the response of the Roanoke FireEMS Department HAZMAT team, VDEM, Roanoke Emergency Management and Norfolk Southern. The crews responded about 7 a.m. to the 2000 block of Wise Ave. SE.

HAZMAT is still working to mitigate and contain the pollutant by using booms in the water. Contractors and DEQ remain on scene cleaning up and containing the pollutant in the affected areas: Campbell Ave. SE/Norfolk Ave. SE east of downtown, Tinker Creek downstream of 13th St. NE; and the Roanoke River downstream of the Tinker Creek confluence.

People who live in the area or use the affected waterways are urged to stay out of the water until it is deemed safe to enter - swimming, wading, floating, boating or fishing are not recommended. If you swallow the affected water, you’re asked to call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

The city clarifies the pollutant does not affect drinking water from faucets; you will only potentially get sick if you drink water straight from the creek.

Updates will be posted on the Roanoke Emergency Management Facebook page.

Map of danger areas of Tinker Creek Waterway after spill
Map of danger areas of Tinker Creek Waterway after spill(Roanoke Emergency Management)

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