CLARKSBURG – A small heating oil spill near the Red Mills Spring poses no threat to the drinking water’s quality, selectmen said at last week’s meeting.
“Apparently, an abutting home had a small fuel oil leak, and due to some heavy rain that took place at the same time, some of the fuel made its way into the catch basin area below the overflow pipe,” Selectmen Chair Carl McKinney said.
Town officials contacted the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the site was inspected on Feb. 1, McKinney said.
“After review by the DEP representative, he determined that the amount lost was not a hazard to the community using the spring nor to the river,” he said.
The spring, which is part of the independent Briggsville Water District, serves approximately 180 people along River Road in Clarksburg. The general public also uses the spring as a water source by taking water from the system’s overflow pipe.
McKinney warned against drawing water from the catch basin.
“Debris and some road salt and sand, anything that washes off the roadway, will also end up in that basin,” he said Wednesday night. “Water from that area would never be safe to drink.”
And in response to residents’ concerns, Town Administrator Thomas Webb said he will reach out to the DEP to obtain the test results from what the DEP termed a groundwater seep found near the Florida portion of the Hoosac
The resident who first found the seepage, Larry Lorusso, was present at Wednesday’s meeting.
Lorusso, who has already had his own tests performed on the liquid, expressed concern the local water supply could be contaminated.
“It’s smells awful,” Lorusso told selectmen. “I don’t want that stuff in my water.”
McKinney said the DEP stated the levels of volatile organic compounds in the pool did not exceed the state’s reportable concentrations for release to groundwater.
The low level detected are likely due to the degradation of organic materials present in compost used during construction, he said.
But residents who were in attendance encouraged officials to request the official results and that the seepage continue to be monitored. Resident Katie Swabey said she was concerned over Lorusso’s test results showing traces of “other petroleum.”
“We want to know what that oil is, and if it’s not at a hazardous level, that’s great,” she said.
In other business:
*The selectboard responded to a resident’s concern over discrepancies in the recapitulation sheet, which is a summary of the town’s tax rate and budget submitted to the Department of Revenue (DOR). The discrepancies, outlined in an email sent on Jan. 22, including calculation errors the resident said could have caused an increase in the tax rate of four cents. McKinney said since receiving the email, the town has begun reviewing the errors with the DOR. In addition, the DOR’s Technical Assistance Team will visit the town in March to review all of the town’s financial processes.