UPDATE: Officials say leak on Hiwassee River not causing risk to public
Operations are suspended at Smoky Mountain Transfer Corporation in Bradley County until further notice, due a pipe leaking hydraulic fluid into the Hiwassee River.
UPDATE: Operations are suspended at Smoky Mountain Transfer Corporation in Bradley County until further notice. Tuesday morning, a pipe leaked hydraulic fluid into the Hiwassee River. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has been notified. This isn't the first time there's been a fuel leak at the salt yard.
At the end of December the same thing happened inside the Smoky Mountain Transfer Yard. Tuesday large excavator busted a hydrologic line, spilling 10 gallons of oil into the water.
A rainbow sheen covers a small section of the Hiwassee River, a main source of water for some in Bradley County. “One of the hydraulic fluid lines burst. The high pressure caused some of that to be expelled some of it hit the water,” said Lindsay Hathcock a Public Information Officer for Bradley County Emergency Management.
A hazmat team spent the day placing water booms to soak up ten gallons of the eco-friendly fuel.
“Trying to contain the spill to this small area of the water. We have had boats in the water, we went down river. We seen a light sheen about the 16 mile marker but it was very minute,” said Shawn Fairbanks the Bradley County Fire Chief.
Smoky Mountain Transfer Corporation uses barges to transfer salt products to other companies like Olin. Officials said the salt could be causing corrosion to the machinery.
“We have contacted our local authorities and the state, TDEC is on their way here. We have worked with the local fire department, emergency management, they have been through the river checking for levels,” said Hathcock.
Emergency management officials said it's important to note, the leak is not affecting Cleveland Utilities customers.
“For customers everything is safe. Cleveland Utilities inlet is up river from this locations so operations is safe,” said Fairbanks.
TDEC is expected to arrive Wednesday to the Smoky Mountain Transfer yard. Operations will be suspended until the state reviews the process and creates specific guidelines so this doesn't happen again.
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.
UPDATE: Bradley County Fire Chief Shawn Fairbanks tells Channel 3 there is an oil spill at Smoky Mountain Transfer Corporation in Charleston.
Containment booms are being used to keep the oil, which is eco-friendly fuel, from spreading. Hazmat crews are going to soak up the fluid with pads.
There is a rainbow sheen on the water, but there is no threat to the public or the environment.
A piece of machinery that collects salt started spewing fuel from a hose that was dangling over the river as it was being moved. 10 gallons of fuel leaked.
A spokesperson for Bradley County just issued the following statement about the leak:
A fixed base apparatus that unloads product for industrial use on the Hiwassee River in Charleston, TN has had a small hydraulic leak. This hydraulic fluid is specifically made for use in this environment, such as this waterway, to inherently minimize risk in the event of any leak. The device is being repaired and the situation is currently being monitored by local authorities and the State has been notified. Thank you for your help in notifying the public and also reassuring that NO RISK is associated with this activity!
Cleveland Utilities customers are not affected by the leak, meaning drinking water is safe.
This is a developing story, we will bring you information as we learn it.