"Old Fuel Spill Sparks Water Contamination Fears in South Bibb County"

"A soil and groundwater cleanup at the site of a 30-year-old jet fuel spill in south Bibb County has alerted neighbors for the first time to the water contamination in their community.

A pipeline supplying Robins Air Force Base with jet fuel from a bulk fuel storage terminal in south Macon has leaked several times in past decades, said Mark Smith, chief of the land protection branch for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

The company that now owns the pipeline, San Antonio-based NuStar Energy LP, has installed a system to extract fuel contamination from soil and groundwater at Feagin Road, which is across Ga. 247 from Middle Georgia Regional Airport. The company is not cleaning up a second old leak on Barnes Ferry Road, but it is testing the well water of nearby residents monthly, Smith said.

The EPD has no estimate of how large either of the spills were, he said.

Smith said state environmental officials thought that because residents in the Feagin Road area have access to city water, they were all using it. But members of this rural community say many residents still drink from wells or use well water for their livestock and gardens."

Heather Duncan reports for the Macon Telegraph August 15, 2010.

Monday, August 16, 2010