By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Gadsden-Etowah County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Denise Cooey told members of the Etowah County Commission that the department is working still to clean up diesel fuel that apparently was dumped into Cascade Creek, in the area of Hines Road on Lookout Mountain.
Cooey said the contamination was reported by residents in the area who smelled the fuel.
“We can’t find out who did it,” Cooey said.
Authorities are not sure when or exactly where the fuel might have been dumped into the creek either. She said the creek is so slow moving, it could have been some time before the fuel came to rest at the reported site. The fuel had begun to congeal at that site when the EMA was notified, Cooey explained. She said it appears 30-40 gallons of fuel was dumped into the creek.
So far, the City of Gadsden is footing the bill for cleaning it up, Cooey said, which could run as much as $15,000 before the work is complete.
The spill has been contained, she said. Two booms were put into place at the back of Noccalula Park Campground to prevent the spill from moving into Black Creek.
Cooey said the Alabama Department of Environmental Management had been involved, approving the EMA cleanup plan.
“Hopefully, this is a one-time thing,” Cooey said. But she encouraged anyone who spots something like this dumped fuel to report it to the Gadsden Police Department, the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office or the EMA.
“This has to be cleaned up,” Cooey said, “We’re talking about our drinking water.”
The containment of the dump has prevented contamination of drinking water, she said.
Also, the EMA would be interested in information about who might have dumped the fuel into Cascade Creek. Cooey said there are substantial fines for such dumping, and the City of Gadsden probably would like to see the persons responsible for the dumping pay for the cost of the cleanup.