Breaking News

Chemical spill found in Toccoa River

The tank that was removed from under the sidewalk which may be the source of the substance leak into the Toccoa River in November.

Ongoing investigation to find cause

By Maria Kidder, Sentinel Staff Writer

A chemical spill in the Toccoa River is raising concerns as to the potential damage it may have caused.
The substance, which appears to be some type of petroleum, was first spotted upriver in the Ocoee River. Sources state Ducktown Fire Dept. was first alerted to investigate the cause of
the leak and found it to be coming from the banks of the Toccoa River near the new Burra Burra Seafood Restaurant.
Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (Georgia DNR EPD) was notified Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at about 8:30 a.m. John Soave, Project Manager for the McCaysville Downtown Revitalization project, stated he called the EPD (Environmental Protection Division). Soave was given names of environmental clean-up crews to be immediately dispatched to the location for containment.
Marion Environmental Inc. was then called in to aid in the clean-up efforts.
It was determined at that time the leak stemmed from a hole in an underground tank. This tank had been in place for at least 60 years. The fuel was used to heat the old Riverside Mall at 100 Riverside Drive. Soave could not speculate as to how the hole in the tank was made.
The tank was buried below the city sidewalk next to the building which is owned by Mike Galinksi and McCaysville Properties.
Galinski said he was made aware of the situation Tuesday. His directive was to get the spill cleaned expediently, remove and dispose of the affected tank, and repair the sidewalk without any hardship to the City of McCaysville.
Later that day, Soave reported that Marion Environmental had “totally contained the substance and cleaned up the area in five hours.”
Keith Chambers, Communications Director for the Georgia DNR EPD released this statement, “Because this is an open investigation, records pertaining to this incident are not available. The records will be made public once the investigation is completed. EPD is aware of the ongoing issue with (a) sheen on the water and is working with an environmental cleanup contractor to contain it as much as possible.”