February 9, 2006
Canisters filled with an unknown substance show up in a Crozet creek and tonight Albemarle County authorities are searching for who may have illegally dumped the drums.
On Monday a tip led Albemarle County fire investigators to a creek on Clark Road in Crozet. There they found 6 fifty-five-gallon drums lying in the water. Unsure of what was inside the barrels or who left them there authorities began their investigation.
“It was a dark colored fluid and we do believe one of the containers when it was rolled down into the bank had a leak in it due to the damage of the other drums hitting it and there was a leak into the water way,” said Albemarle County Fire Marshall Bill Clark.
The water way leads to the Moormans River. If the material is hazardous and it wasn't treated it could have infected the water supply.
“If investigators didn’t catch it, it could pollute the creek and harm the fish and if in water supply it could also affect our water supply,” said Rivanna Water and Sewer Director Tom Frederick.
Fire officials say that's not a concern now. As hazmat crews removed the canisters and completely cleared the spill.
“There were some tracks at the scene that we took photographs of those and for our investigation,” said Clark.
Investigators say they have suspects and will try to match those tracks to a truck and if lab results prove the liquid inside the drums is hazardous, the people who dumped the barrels could be charged with a felony.
Those lab results are expected back any day and fire marshals say an arrest will probably follow soon after.
Cleaning up a mess like this costs the county thousands of dollars. If someone is prosecuted for dumping the canisters they could also be responsible for the price tag that comes along with it.