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Cleanup continues after fuel oil spill

June 24, 1998

by KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

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Cleanup continues

CLEAR SPRING - Cleanup crews Wednesday sopped up more fuel oil from a stream that became contaminated after a tank ruptured in a Blairs Valley Road home Tuesday.

A recovery team from AC&T, a Hagerstown-based petroleum distributor, handled most of the effort to absorb the remaining fuel oil from the Little Conococheague Creek and in the basement of the home at 13530 Blairs Valley Road, said Lt. Eric Reid, of the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Department.

Numerous fish, including crayfish and 200 trout, were killed when the oil entered the mountain stream after flowing down the drain in the basement of the home.

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Nearby farmers were told to keep their cattle away from the stream.

The tank was being filled at about 11 a.m. Tuesday when it ruptured, forming a three-inch hole along a seam in the tank, Reid said.

Between 275 to 300 gallons flowed into the basement and down the drain, Reid said.

Firefighters and cleanup crews from Washington County and Maryland hazmat teams worked about six hours trying to absorb the oil from a four-mile winding section of the stream before a severe thunderstorm dumped heavy rain on the area.

The crews had to suspend cleanup efforts when the rain hit, washing the remaining fuel downstream.

There is little risk the fuel will get into drinking water supplies, said Greg Socks, team coordinator of Washington County's Emergency Service Hazardous Incident Response Team.

- Lisa Graybeal

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