Belhaven contaminent spill contained, neighbors upset

BELHAVEN, N.C. (WNCT) – Despite The Coast Guard and Emergency Service officials containing a contaminant spill in Belhaven Tuesday, neighbors are still upset.

The Coast Guard found a 55 gallon tub at the Riverside Forest Marina had spilled due to the high flood waters. They estimate only around 2 gallons of oil spilled into the water. However, no one is positive whether the contaminant was actually oil, or if it was diesel fuel.

Residents near the marina said spills like this happen almost every time there is a flood.

“I got up, I came out and opened my front door, and it sort of hit me in the face,” said Shirley Tolan, who lives near the marina.

Tolan said in her 31 years in Belhaven, she can remember at least six times a spill like this happened.

However, Woody Jarvis, Belhaven’s Town Manager, said this is the first he is hearing about it.

“This is my first exposure to any kind of housekeeping related spill at that business,” Jarvis said.

WNCT tried to reach out to the owner of the marina, but the number listed in the phone book had been disconnected.

Beaufort County Emergency Services Director John Pack said he notified DENR, the Coast Guard, and the North Carolina Emergency Management when he found out about the spill.

Pack said there isn’t much the town or county can do in terms of requiring a business to change their practice. He did say those upset could contact DENR’s water quality department to report the issue.

“They can go up, take samples, do what they do to determine whether the water has got contaminants in it or not,” Pack said.

Tolan said her neighbors and her are now left to clean up the aftermath and pile up any debris that may have been contaminated by the spill. She said she wants those responsible for it to be more respectful.

“Think about their neighbors, not just them. And at this point I feel like that’s what they’re doing,” Tolan said. “They’re not concerned about the neighbors.”

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