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DEC called to fuel oil spill in Nelson near Tuscarora Lake

The view looking northeast of the contractor crew cleaning up the fuel oil spill on Green Road. Cleanup work was ongoing for two weeks. The leaking tank is located behind the small truck at the far left.

The view looking northeast of the contractor crew cleaning up the fuel oil spill on Green Road. Cleanup work was ongoing for two weeks. The leaking tank is located behind the small truck at the far left.

— A 250-gallon fuel oil tank broke open and spilled its contents at a residence just off the northeast corner of Tuscarora Lake in mid-January, causing a spill response from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The spill, which occurred on Green Road near the intersection with North Lake Road in the town of Nelson, was apparently the result of the fuel tank at a vacated property being struck and damaged by falling ice, Jack Houk, a member of the Tuscarora Lake Association, told the Nelson Town Board at its Feb. 14 meeting.

Lisa King, a spokesperson for the state DEC, told the Cazenovia Republican that the DEC hired a contractor on Jan. 19 to clean up the oil spill.

“The contractor addressed an oil sheen in the creek and removed 30 truckloads of contaminated soil. They also sampled three nearby wells, and the results showed no detection of petroleum,” King said. “There is still sediment at the bank of the creek, and that will be cleaned next week. We do not believe the oil spill reached Tuscarora Lake. The DEC will conduct further inspections to ensure thorough clean-up efforts.”

Nelson code enforcements officer Robert Cook also responded to the oil spill in January. He did not respond to calls for comment.

Houk said the lake association would like to remind all lakeside residents to verify the condition of the fuel tanks on their properties — or of tanks on vacant properties — to help ensure such spills do not occur again and possibly contaminate the lake. The TLA will be putting a reminder in its upcoming newsletter, he said.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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