© 2024 WMRA and WEMC
WMRA : More News, Less Noise WEMC: The Valley's Home for Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Industrial fire sends some contaminants into Middle River

A rainbow-colored petroleum sheen was spotted on the Middle River on Monday.
George Neighbors
A rainbow-colored petroleum sheen was spotted on the Middle River on Monday.

A recent fire at the AccuTec factory in Verona resulted in oily water washing into the Middle River, which the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is monitoring. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

According to a report filed with the DEQ, around 12:30 or 1 a.m. on Monday there was a fire in the grinder operation area at AccuTec, which produces razors and other blades. There were no reported injuries, although two people did go to the hospital as a precaution for smoke inhalation. The fire was caused by a spark in one of the facility's filtration units.

The DEQ's communications office told WMRA that firefighting activities caused oily water to enter a drainage area, which led to a visible sheen downstream in the Middle River. The company has hired a contractor to contain the contamination using oil booms – a type of floating barrier which will 'fence in' the petroleum product. The DEQ continues to monitor the site, and says that currently there are no indications of negative impact on aquatic life. The sheen is [quote] "so light, it will eventually volatilize and dissipate in the river."

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.