Scientist says rainfall intensifies oil spill in Lynchburg - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Scientist says rainfall intensifies oil spill in Lynchburg

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While much of the cleanup is over in Lynchburg after a CSX train derailment, scientists tell WSLS that thousands of gallons of crude oil remain in the James River; contamination that is now spreading because of heavy rainfall across the area.

Read more about what contaminates Smith found in the river here.

Thursday WSLS reached out to Chief Scientist of Water Defense Scott Smith, an expert in bakken oil spills who has been testing the water in the James River.

Smith says the rain only makes the spill worse.

“When it rains the oil and related chemicals and specifically the metals we found in that river bank go right back into the river so technically you have the disaster of the spill happening all over again," Smith said.

Read more about Smith's original testing.

Smith says not only is the environment at risk in Lynchburg, but also 150 miles downstream in Richmond.

"And it's going to speed up it's impact on Richmond and it's my understanding that Richmond gets their drinking water from the James River," Smith said.

Smith also expressed concern over local leaders reaction to the spill.

“Some feedback has come to us that the local leaders and some of the other non-profits may actually not want to know what is really in the water. That is just mind boggling to us at Water Defense,” Smith said.

WSLS has been closely following this situation and will continue to keep you updated with the latest.

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