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Advisory issued

Cove Creek being tested following gasoline spill

SALUDA—Polk County and state officials have issued a precautionary advisory for Cove Creek from Little Bradley Falls to the connection to Green River after a tanker accident spilled gasoline and diesel. 

The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources issued the advisory following the accident along I-26 on Wednesday afternoon. 

“There has been a release of gasoline due to a tanker truck accident on Oct. 21, 2020,” Polk County officials said. “At this time, you may witness a petroleum smell in the air and might notice an oil sheen on the water.” 

The truck was carrying 6,500 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel. The truck wrecked on the westbound lane near mile marker 62 and caught fire. The driver was airlifted with injuries. 

The department of environmental quality is sampling the water to determine the extent of the spill to mitigate the exposure. 

Polk County officials are asking the public to avoid swimming, wading or fishing in the section of Cove Creek until further notice; to avoid skin contact with water, soil and sediment near the river and if skin comes into contact with contaminated sediment or water to thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water. 

For more information, people can contact Polk County Health and Human Services Agency Director Joshua Kennedy at 828-894-2114 ext. 228.