LATEST: Water tankers have arrived so residents can fill up thei - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

LATEST: Water tankers have arrived so residents can fill up their containers

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Diesel fuel contaminates Greenbrier River near Lewisburg Diesel fuel contaminates Greenbrier River near Lewisburg

LATEST: Two water tankers are located in the free parking lot at the State Fairgrounds.

A third water tanker is available for residents in Ronceverte at Island Park.

According to Al Whitaker, director of Greenbrier Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the water will be available until the crisis is over.

People must bring their own jugs or containers to put the water in.

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From Frankford to Ronceverte, about 12,000 residents are without running water.  

Friday night, a tanker truck carrying diesel fuel had an accident, spilling nearly 4,000 gallons of fuel into a tributary off Route 92, north of White Sulphur Springs.

Officials say the fuel traveled from the tributary to Anthony Creek, which then flowed into the Greenbrier River.

Mark Carver, the director of Public Works for the city of Lewisburg, told WVVA that as a precautionary measure, around 2 a.m. Saturday morning, the Lewisburg water plant stopped taking in water from the river.

That step proved crucial, because he said by Saturday afternoon you could smell the fuel in the river.

"Nothing did get into the system," said Carver. "The system is perfectly clean. The problem is with the use of water, the tank levels have dropped down to where there is no water in the system."

"What we're doing now is waiting to get clearance from the EPA," he explained. "They're taking samples. Once these samples come back and show there is no diesel in the water we're resume operation. In approximately 3 to 5 days where we can get our levels back up where we are semi-operational."

The tests take 24 hours to get back.

Once officials are given clearance to pump water again there will be a boil water advisory.

They say it could take seven or eight days before the tanks are back to full capacity.

State and local officials have been called in to assist in the clean up efforts.

Water stations are going to be set up at the state fairgrounds, however, officials are not sure when the water will get there.

Schools from Frankford to Ronceverte are closed for Monday.

Area fire chiefs met and have a contingency plan if a fire does occur.

The director of Greenbrier Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Al Whitaker, says efforts have been made to stop the fuel from flowing further south.

"They are concentrating on putting what they call booms upper round the intakes of the Lewisburg water plant to provide protection there," he explained. "From there, going back up to put booms across the river where Anthony Creek runs into Greenbrier River. And from there, they are going to be working down stream, Ronceverte and Alderson so forth."

So far, Whitaker says the Alderson water plant is unaffected by the spill.

Residents are now running to the stores to stockpile on water.

"Getting called off work, not having work or water is a rude thing to wake up to," explained Randy Atwell who works for Papa Johns.

Area restaurants were told to close up early Sunday night due to health hazards.

Atwell is worried about taking care of his family and how much work he'll miss. He's said it's crucial for him to have enough water to make his two-year-old's bottles.

"As you can see the only thing they've got here is kiwi and strawberry. That's not going to taste very good with milk."

Residents are recommended to get at least a gallon of water per person per day.


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UPDATE: Emergency Services Personnel say the water tanks are empty, adding that whatever water is running is coming from the pipes.

Officials are planning to set up a water station at the state fair grounds for people to fill up water jugs. They are unsure at this time when that will take place, orders are coming from state officials. 

In a meeting today, officials stated that water testing can take up to 24 hours. Residents should plan to be out of water  for 72 hours.

Leaders say they are hoping to have the water back in the next three to five days, but a boil water advisory will be underway.

 Officials say it could be seven to eight days before the water is fully operational.

The Lewisburg City Council will host an emergency session on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 4:00 P.M.

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An overturned truck spilled diesel fuel into the Greenbrier river, according to Lewisburg's mayor, John Manchester.

He says the accident happened Friday night on a bridge on Route 92, spilling into Anthony Creek, which runs into the river.

Manchester says the Lewisburg water plant has shut off their intake so that the contaminated water would not enter their system.

However, they are running on stored water supply, so he is asking for the public to conserve as much as possible.

Manchester says the Department of Environmental Protection along with Greenbrier County Emergency Services is on scene trying to get the fuel out of the water.

As of now, he says their is no estimated time for the fuel to be removed.

According to Al Whitaker, the director at Greenbrier County Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the contamination has not reached the plant in Alderson, but it is being monitored closely.

Stay with WVVA as we work to bring you the latest details.

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