Whitesburg water ban lifted

dhjalmarson@herald-leader.comFebruary 16, 2011 

A no-contact order for Whitesburg Municipal Water customers has been lifted.

Samples taken Saturday and Sunday have come back clean from the water-testing lab, state Division of Water spokeswoman Allison Fleck said.

The no-contact order was in effect until two consecutive clean tests came from the water plant. Customers could use water only to flush toilets. Restaurants had to use bottled water to wash dishes, floors and food.

The source of a diesel spill Saturday has been pinpointed as a remote underground line associated with an above-ground storage tank that leaked because of an equipment malfunction at the Childers Oil bulk plant in Whitesburg. The tank was shut down in November, Fleck said.

The investigation continues into whether Childers properly shut down that tank to prevent leaks. The Division of Water also is looking into whether the municipal water plant operated by Veolia Water responded properly once petroleum was detected inside the plant, Fleck said.

Veolia Water said in a statement Tuesday that the water treatment plant's carbon feed system "worked as intended."

The system, which was upgraded after a 2009 petroleum spill, doesn't run constantly. It is switched on when a contaminant is detected.

Saturday's spill marked the third time in less than three years that Childers Oil in Whitesburg has been tied to pollution that shut down the city's water system.

A lawsuit was filed against Childers Oil over petroleum-product spills in October 2008 and February 2009. The company agreed in September to pay the state Energy and Environment Cabinet $500,000 to settle charges stemming from the two spills.

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