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Gas spill cleanup continues

Tanker driver cited

Gas spill cleanup continues

Gas spill cleanup continues

Employees of SWS Environmental Servic...

    The driver of a tanker carrying gasoline that spilled during a crash Sunday has been charged, while both state and federal environmental agents continue to oversee cleanup operations.
    Ricky Byron Bryant, 56, of Moore Road in Vidalia, was charged with following too closely after his tanker slammed into a pickup truck and a bobtail tractor trailer Sunday night.
    Bryant was traveling north on U.S. Highway 301 South, approaching Georgia Highway 46 and Lotts Creek, when he collided with a pickup truck driven by Sharon Furman, 28, of Church Street in Claxton. Furman was following Charles Eric Williams, 38, of Rosemary Street in Claxton, who was having mechanical issues with his tractor, which was not pulling a trailer, Georgia State Patrol Capt. Kirk McGlamery said. Bryant’s tanker also struck Williams’ vehicle.
    The tanker overturned as it struck a guard rail on a bridge over Lotts Creek, spilling what Environmental Protection Agency on-scene coordinator Timothy Neal estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of gasoline.
    The tanker had been carrying about 9,000 gallons of gasoline, McGlamery said.
    While all three drivers were injured, none of the injuries was serious, he said.
    GSP troopers responding to the scene called the EPA and Georgia Environmental Protection Division, as well as the Georgia Department of Transportation, to address the fuel spill.
    “I have been meeting with the EPA and EPD daily to assure that cleanup is proceeding,” Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn said Wednesday. “The EPA advised me that this will be an extended operation. So far, they are confident they have it contained.”
    Very little of the gasoline spilled actually made it into creek waters, Neal said.
    Absorbent pads soaked up the gasoline floating on the surface of the water, but the majority of the gasoline soaked into soil beneath the bridge, he said. Receptor trenches and absorbent materials were used to remove the bulk of the spill, and efforts continue to make sure the location is safe and won’t harm the environment.
    “Gasoline is very light in petroleum and evaporates very quickly,” Neal said. “The emergency phase is over, and we feel in conjunction with EPD they (cleanup contractors) have it under control. We are now into long-term monitoring and will continue to apply absorbent pads” and other precautionary measures.
    The spill won’t have any significant impact on the Lotts Creek environment and won’t affect the Ogeechee River, into which the creek empties, at all, he added.
    Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.

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