Advisory lifted after 2023 fuel spill near Saluda

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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SALUDA—The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency recently announced the lifting of a precautionary advisory following a fuel spill on the interstate in 2023. 

Last year, on July 13, a gas tanker fire forced the shutdown of I-26 in both directions between Columbus and Hendersonville. The accident occurred around 5:30 a.m. near mile marker 62 westbound, resulting in gasoline leaking into nearby mountain streams and creeks.

“We were happy to work with all our partners to get a good team effort,” said Josh Kennedy of Polk County Health and Human Services. “It was an unfortunate accident, but we’ve seen improvement over the last twelve months, which has allowed us to lift the advisory. We are certainly lucky to have such good partners in the state and region.”

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State workers with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality swiftly deployed oil-absorbent booms to catch any gas that filtered down from the spill. This immediate action, along with N.C. Department of Transportation workers excavating soil using crews and a large earthmover, helped ensure the safety of the community.

The previously issued advisory for the upper section of Cove Creek, stretching from the top of Little Bradley Falls to the vicinity of the I-26 spill site, has now been lifted. Monitoring efforts have shown successful cleanup and improving water quality in Cove Creek. 

Officials have assured the public that the impacts from the July 2023 gas spill no longer pose a threat to humans, wildlife, and the environment.