Oil discharge discovered in Little Sugar Creek in south Charlotte

Crews are working to clean Little Sugar Creek in south Charlotte near Medical Center Drive after a hydraulic oil spill was found on Monday.

Channel 9′s Joe Bruno reached out to the county after receiving videos from viewers on Twitter showing the contaminated water in the creek.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services sent back a statement saying they were aware of the spill and that the spill was caused by an equipment malfunction. Rozzelle from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water explains that the oil sheen on the water was caused by some of the residue getting through the barriers and moving downstream.

According to Charlotte Water, about 150 gallons were discharged and 20-30 of those gallons made it into the creek.

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A spokesperson with the Catawba Riverkeeper also released a statement regarding the situation saying:

“We’re still waiting to find out more details from CharMeck Stormwater Services, but I can give you some general information. Unfortunately spills of petroleum products (like most hydraulic fluids) and common in densely populated area with lots of construction. All spills of hazardous materials are eventually reported to EPA National Response Center, you can see a map here. There are many different types of hydraulic fluids with varying levels of toxicity. No amount is good for the creek, but small spills are not usually a major concern for human health. Citizens should avoid contact and report all spills to Charlotte 311 or NC DEQ. Extra caution should be used if there are dead fish/wildlife or a noticeable smell.”

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Channel 9 reporter Almiya White spoke with a resident who said they discovered the sheen on Tuesday.

“I run along the Greenway almost every day. And I just noticed, you know, finishing my last mile, that there’s a bunch of iridescent shine in the water,” Zach told Channel 9.

He said his immediate thoughts went to the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

“Ever since the Ohio thing. I think it’s brought a lot of awareness to, I guess, just general environmental health,” Zach said.

The clean-up is still active, and crews will be working for the next several days to remove the oil and return the creek to normal.

Charlotte said that as of now, wildlife has not been impacted by the spill.

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