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Roanoke, Vinton residents near Tinker Creek asked to avoid waterway until hazardous spill is cleared

Tap water in area is still safe for drinking, officials say

ROANOKE, Va. – People who live along the Tinker Creek Waterway in Vinton and Roanoke are asked to avoid swimming, floating, boating or fishing until crews are finished cleaning up a hazardous spill in the water.

The spill does not effect tap/drinking water in the area. The pollutant could make someone sick if they drank water from the creek, but Roanoke city officials urged Friday that tap water from faucets in the area is still perfectly safe.

If you ingest the affected creek water, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

People who live along the Tinker Creek Waterway in Vinton and Roanoke are asked to avoid swimming, floating, boating or fishing until crews are finished cleaning up a hazardous spill in the water.
People who live along the Tinker Creek Waterway in Vinton and Roanoke are asked to avoid swimming, floating, boating or fishing until crews are finished cleaning up a hazardous spill in the water. (WSLS)

Click here for a map of the affected areas, which include: Campbell Ave. SE/Norfolk Ave. SE east of downtown, Tinker Creek downstream of 13th St. NE; and the Roanoke River downstream of the Tinker Creek confluence.

Officials said the hazardous substance is petroleum-based and could be an irritant. It shows up as a sheen on the water and has a strong odor, officials said.

Officials have been working to determine the source of the pollutant since earlier this month but said this week’s heavy rainfall caused the pollutant’s sheen and odor to increase, prompting an emergency response from several crews on Friday morning.

According to Roanoke city officials, crews responded just before 7 a.m. Friday morning to the 2000 block of Wise Ave in southeast Roanoke along the creek.

Authorities with Roanoke Environmental Management and Roanoke Stormwater, in collaboration with DEQ and Norfolk Southern, started monitoring a sheen on a small tributary to Tinker Creek along Campbell Ave on July 13.

Crews used several “source-tracking” techniques to figure out where the sheen was coming from. They also put petroleum collection booms in place to limit the spread.

This week’s rainfall caused the sheen and odor to increase and spread from Lick Run into Tinker Creek, which prompted the response on Friday morning starting at about 7 a.m.

Crews from Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Norfolk Southern, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) all responded to this incident.


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