Drinking water compromised after tanker crash spills chemicals

Kimberly Kuizon reports

- City officials are concerned after a light sheen appeared in a creek in North Port. Now, the DEP is monitoring the situation related to a tanker crash on Interstate 75 over the weekend.

"I do not want to take any risk, at all, of ever affecting anybody's health due to the water supply," said field operations manager for North Port Utilities, Mike Vulolo.

Vulolo said the sheen is thought to be chemicals leaded from a tanker that crashed on I-75 Friday night.

The tanker turned over and the Department of Environmental Protection was called in to clean up more than 4,000 gallons of fuel. Some of the fuel or clean up chemicals are believed to have made it into the creek when a rain storm moved in.

"We don't know what's in the water at that time. We don't know what chemicals are in there," said Vulolo.

As soon as city officials learned some chemicals made it further downstream, they shut down the main source at the water treatment facility. Now they are getting their drinking water from other sources.

"To err on the side of caution, we wanted to be safe and we wanted to keep our citizens safe. We did not want to pull from this water source any longer," Vulolo said.

Drinking water is now coming in from the Peace River Manasota Water Treatment Facility. Some test results on the creek have come back negative. The city said it is waiting for more from the DEP before it moves forward.

"We want to know it's safe. Right now, with the source water contamination, we aren't 100-percent until we get that information back," said Vulolo.

Residents, meanwhile, are keeping an eye on the situation. Some who spoke with FOX 13 News said they are hopeful the city's quick actions helped keep their water supply clean.

"Everyone has something to say. Some are more worried than others," said North Port resident Robert Schell. "I am hoping everything, naturally comes out good."

Anyone concerned or wants to know about testing may contact the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County at their Environmental Health Office at 941-861-6133. Residents wanting additional information can contact North Port Public Works at 941-240-8050 or the City's Utilities Department t 941-240-8000.

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