June 24, 2019

DEC: Allen Brook oil spill controlled

Crews repair a water line leak in front of the Old Brick Tavern on Route 2 in Williston onWednesday morning the 19th.

Crews repair a water line leak in front of the Old Brick Tavern on Route 2 in Williston onWednesday morning the 19th.

Crews repair a water line leak in front of the Old Brick Tavern on Route 2 in Williston onWednesday morning the 19th.

Crews repair a water line leak in front of the Old Brick Tavern on Route 2 in Williston onWednesday morning the 19th.

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

Oil spilling into the Allen Brook from Vermont Agency of Transportation property near Interstate 89 in Williston has dried to a trickle, and the Department of Environmental Conservation plans future work to clean up the source of the leak.

Oil remains visible in the water downstream from a former car service station alongside the interstate, according to James Donaldson of the DEC’s spill program. But it’s slowed significantly in the two weeks since a teacher at Allen Brook School alerted the Williston Fire Department of a strong oil smell in the brook while she was walking her dog.

Williston firefighters responded April 14, tracing the source to the former car service station property, where VTrans is currently staging equipment for a highway culvert repair project. According to Donaldson, VTrans’ culvert contractor mistakenly exposed part of a drainage system around the perimeter of the car service station resulting in the leak.

“It was a pretty steady stream of petroleum product,” Morton recalled.

Donaldson said a 55-gallon drum of petroleum-laced water was recovered from the brook. He said the offending portion of the foundation drainage system was removed and pumps have been installed to capture any remaining oil flow.

“We will keep them in until we don’t see a sheen emanating from the property,” Donaldson said.

Groundwater wells originally installed in 1993 to monitor the hazardous material on the site have not been checked in 16 years, Donaldson said. A new check of the well water is planned to determine if the leak has contaminated groundwater.

“The impacts to the brook have been mitigated, but we’ll get out there and do some digging and remove the (foundation drainage system) and any contaminated soils still remaining in the area,” Donaldson said.

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