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Bringle Ferry Road closed for tanker spill cleanup

The N.C. Department of Transportation closed a portion of Bringle Ferry Road Tuesday for contractors working at the site of an ethanol tanker truck spill to determine the extent of any contamination.

The closure began at 7 a.m. Tuesday and is scheduled to continue until Friday, April 24 at 5 p.m. The section of closed road is located between Bringle Ferry Road’s intersections with Panther Creek Road and Suratt Road.

Rowan County Emergency Services Chief Frank Thomason said a private company — Hepaco, which has offices in Charlotte and Raleigh — requested a permit from the N.C. Department of Transportation for the road to be be closed for cleanup work. Employees of the company were removing contaminated dirt from areas adjacent to Bringle Ferry Road, which were contaminated by a fatal ethanol tanker truck spill that occurred on April 2. The driver of the truck was killed and thousands of gallons of ethanol spilled onto the roadway.

Ethanol from the spill didn’t contaminate a nearby stream, according to an assessment by the Army Corps of Engineers that occurred on April 10.  Some ethanol did seep into soil adjacent to Bringle Ferry Road, said Cathy Akroyd, a spokeswoman for a division of N.C.’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Diesel fuel also leaked from the tanker truck, Akroyd said, but did not migrate from the initial spill site.

Surface water near Bringle Ferry Road was tested on April 7, Akroyd said. The tests results have not been returned yet, she said.

The company contracted to perform cleanup from the spill on Tuesday was excavating dirt near the spill area as a precautionary measure. Akroyd said well water for nearby homes couldn’t be tested until dirt was removed.

“We thought that it was highly possible that excavating the soil will remove the contaminant,” she said. “If the well is not contaminated, excavating the area could prevent it from being contaminated.”

Tests on any nearby water wells won’t be conducted until the private company has finished dirt excavation.

Nearby residents were provided with potable water following the spill, Thomason said.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation advised motorists to use Panther Creek Road, Ribelin Road, Stokes Ferry Road, Wyatt Grove Church Road and Surratt Road as potential detour routes.

Detour signs are placed several hundred yards before the closure on Bringle Ferry Road.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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