Leak Cleanup Continues in East Augusta

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

November 3, 2005
New information about a leaking tank in East Augusta. The smell is worse than the actual problem. The smelly water leaking from a tank off of Preps Phillips Drive near Old Town is not hazardous. Firefighters noticed the leak earlier this week when neighbors began calling them about a foul smell. News 12 is on your side to explain what was in the tank and where it is going now.

Over 3,000 gallons of oil and wastewater are being pumped into Augusta’s sewage system. Al Frazier is district manager for the Environmental Protection Division.

“The oil portion is being pumped into a tank treatment. The wastewater portion of the tank is being pumped to the City of Augusta Wastewater Treatment System,” Frazier said.

It’s hard to believe anything is in these 60-year-old tanks. But oil and wastewater dates back at least eight years after years of abandonment by owners. Earlier this week one tank gave way in the form of a tiny hole. It didn’t take long for the smell to escape.

Melissa Jones can see the tanks from her beauty salon.

“When I pass by Sand Bar Ferry Road I have to hold my breath,” Jones said.

Mike Harrison lives less than two miles away from the tanks.

“My bed spreads and blankets, it’s smelling like the same odor. I done washed my blankets three times,” Harrison said.

“How am I breathing and what am I breathing in, that’s what I need to know,” Jones said. “I’m wondering if this can cause cancer or anything.”

Air samples and water analysis indicate no harm.

“These two tanks are materials that were cleaned up at previous spill sites accumulated over the years,” Frazier said.

Water tests on the nearly full second tank are being conducted.

“We’re looking like the second tank is mostly wastewater and we’re hoping to have that tank pumped by the end of the weekend,” Frazier said.

Tanks that are prone to failure and the Environmental Protection Agency is working to make sure that the public stays safe.

The Environmental Protection Agency out of Atlanta has been here since they were notified about the leak. They will foot the bill and most likely fine the former owners up to three times the cost of cleanup.

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