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Source of Monday's fuel spill near TN river discovered, officials working to clean up area

The Chattanooga Fire Department (CFD) is in the process of cleaning up a petroleum spill at Citico Creek near the mouth of the Tennessee River. (Image: WTVC)

The Chattanooga Fire Department (CFD) is in the process of cleaning up a petroleum spill at Citico Creek near the mouth of the Tennessee River.

CFD spokesman Bruce Garner announced Tuesday that the spill came from a Norfolk Southern pipe in the DeButts Yard. Norfolk Southern has taken responsibility for the spill.

The spill was discovered late Monday afternoon.

Garner says the fuel is no longer leaking into the river, and crews are working to clean up the spill Tuesday.

Norfolk Southern has hired several environmental remediation companies to do the cleanup work, which Garner says is expected to take several days.

CFD, the City's Public Works Department, and City Engineering are working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), the Coast Guard and HEPACO on the clean up.

Assistant Chief Danny Hague with the fire department's Special Operations division said more than 1,000 gallons of petroleum was spilled in the creek.

Haz-mat crews with the fire department and Hamilton County Emergency Services deployed containment booms on the creek Monday night to try to contain the spill.

People may notice a sheen or odor on Citico Creek or the Tennessee River south of where the creek enters the river.

The public is asked to stay away from the site to avoid getting in the way of emergency vehicles and cleanup equipment.

A 2012 report by the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute says that "In Chattanooga, Citico Creek is highly polluted because damaged septic tanks and sewer lines discharge their effluent into the creek. That pollution flows into the Tennessee River, where Chattanoogans get their drinking water."

Later Tuesday evening, Tennessee American Water sent out a release about the spill:

The statement says "We responded immediately and feel confident that there is no threat to the drinking water supply" and "Our monitoring and analysis of water samples yesterday did not indicate any changes related to the spill. We are also performing additional sampling while the cleanup continues."

The utility also says are utilizing powdered activated carbon to help mitigate the spill.

Depend on us to bring you updates to this story online and on-air as they are made available.

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