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James River cleanup underway after tanker spills almost 7,000 gallons of fuel

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Posted at 1:39 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 15:36:59-04

RICHMOND, VA. – A fuel sheen was observed along the shoreline of the James River after a tanker overturned on Tuesday.

The fuel stretched for about a half-mile near the Richmond Deep Water Terminal, but most of the fuel is expected to evaporate today, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

The agency is coordinating the cleanup with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the city of Richmond and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as cleanup contractors.

The spill occurred when a tanker truck overturned while making a turn from Commerce road to Interstate 95. Fuel spilled from the tanker, which contained gasoline and diesel fuel, and some of it entered a storm drain along the road.

Fuel from the storm drain outfall then entered the James River at the deep water terminal.

The tanker was carrying about 7,500 gallons of fuel; of that, 650 gallons were recovered from the tanker and 2,700 gallons were recovered from the road.

That leaves approximately 4,150 gallons unrecovered.

Storm drains in the area were inspected Tuesday, and absorbent booms were placed in the river to contain the fuel.

Some of the fuel has accumulated along the shore. DEQ will determine how to address this while also ensuring the removal of fuel from the storm outfall.

No immediate environmental or other effects have been observed, according to the DEQ.