Environment
3:17 pm
Thu April 21, 2011

Officials Check For Groundwater Contamination Near Georgetown Fuel Spill

A 3,500 gallon gasoline spill in a residential neighborhood of Georgetown is being investigated by the state to see how deeply the fuel may have seeped into the ground. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is leading the environmental assessment in the Sun City retirement community.

"They're continuing to excavate contaminated soil at the site and continuing to assess whether there has been any groundwater contamination," City of Georgetown spokesperson Keith Hutchison told KUT News.

A city press release issued last night said a preliminary check of three caves in Sun City found no signs of contamination.

While it is not yet known if gasoline seeped into the underlying aquifer, residents in the vicinity of Sun City with a private water well should be aware of the potential for groundwater contamination. Contaminants can migrate quickly in an aquifer, though the speed of migration can vary greatly. If you smell gasoline in your tap water, you should call the fire department due to the potential for an explosive hazard.

The City of Georgetown says it does not expect the public water supply to become contaminated, but will continue to monitor drinking water quality just in case.

As YNN reported on April 19, about 100 people in the retirement community were forced out of their homes when a 6,000 gallon gasoline tanker truck overturned around 8 am Tuesday on Del Webb Boulevard near Whispering Wind Drive.

Some of it ran into underground, concrete utility vaults, one of which had an 8-inch gas line running through it. Around 6 p.m., emergency personnel shut off electricity in the area as they tried to suck up the spilled gasoline.

"This is the most dangerous part of this overall operation, is the unloading and getting that fuel out of here," Lt. Todd Terbush with the Georgetown Police Department said.

The Williamson County Sun reports the driver of the overturned truck has been identified as Cedric Williams, an employee of South Austin-based Tex-Con Oil Company.   Tex-Con's website says it has operated in Central Texas since 1939.

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