Truck spills fluid into North Columbia storm drain

sfretwell@thestate.comJune 12, 2013 

— State and city crews were working Wednesday to clean up a hydraulic fluid spill in north Columbia in an area that drains toward the Broad River and one of Columbia’s drinking water sources.

State environmental agency spokesman Jim Beasley said crews are trying to determine the amount of material that apparently spilled Tuesday night from a truck in the Earlewood community and how much got into storm drains that empty into creeks. The amount has been estimated at about 30 gallons.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has called for booms to be installed near where storm water comes out into at least one creek, Beasley said. The Earlewood community where the spill occurred drains toward the Broad River and the Columbia Canal, a drinking water source.

Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler said the gunk could threaten aquatic life and Columbia’s drinking water if it is not contained, although he said efforts so far seem to be working.

He said a company whose truck spilled the oily substance should be punished. Stangler said he received information that the truck drove around for a while, spilling the material into people’s yards, before parking over a storm drain. DHEC did not confirm the company’s name.

“I’m hoping DHEC and the city really do some significant enforcement on this,’’ Stangler said. “We need to send a message that that kind of attitude and that behavior is not acceptable in Columbia.”

DHEC and Stangler received reports Tuesday night that hydraulic fluid had possibly been released from a truck in the area of Clark and Florence streets.

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