Homes evacuated after gas leak

Roads had to be closed after a gas line rupture / photo by Alex Dunbar

After nearly 10 hours, people in the Cayuga County town of Aurelius were allowed back into their homes Tuesday night.

An evacuation order was lifted after a pipe rupture lead to a gasoline leak. Homes within a three mile radius of the intersection of Turnpike Road and Townsend Road were told to evacuate at about 10:30 Tuesday morning. There are still several road closures in the area.

Cayuga County's Director of Emergency Management said a farmer laying drainage pipes accidentally cut a gasoline line, leaving pools of fuel several inches thick. The drainage system on the farm carried some of the spilled gasoline a mile away to a collection area. The line was carrying gasoline from the Rochester area to a distribution center in Cayuga County. Dahl said the area around where the farmer was digging may have been mislabeled.

Dahl said there is very little danger to the public now that the spill has been contained. The county doesn't know how much gasoline spilled but Dahl estimated that 3000 gallons had been removed.

"The product is pretty much under the soil table and they're digging holes now to get the pooling of the product so they can suck it up out of the ground," said Dahl.

The Cayuga County Health Department said there is a concern some gasoline could have gotten into well water. Until wells are tested, people are advised to use bottled water, and not to drink well water if it has an oily sheen or a gasoline odor. Anyone within a one mile radius of the incident should call the Health Department Wednesday for an update on the status of the water.

"The wells are well under the ground and they pump them up off the water system and it can go into their house. It can be pumped right through their faucets. so we just ask people not to do anything with their water until it is tested by the health department," said Dahl

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