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Environmental workers looking into possible soil contamination

By Karissa Manis, Producer, kmanis@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 07 2013 08:47:11 PM CST
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -

It started as a project to replace storm drains for Walters State, then workers ran into a problem.
"A storm drain issue, which in turn caused a sewer line issue, which in turn caused a gas line issue- so it was kind of like a perfect storm apparently," says Laura White with the Greeneville Water Department.

Greeneville Fire Chief Mark Foulks explained how it all happened.
"The gas line was very close to the street, and was actually incased in concrete. So, as they were pulling the black top up and got into the concrete it fell, they hit the gas line and we had a small gas line rupture," says Chief Foulks.

While working on the project they discovered a red substance coming from this nearby funeral home.
"Concerned about what that material may be- actually got to tracing it back to where it was coming from and it was actually coming from the mortuary that's across the street here,"he continues.

Justin Jeffers who works at the family owned funeral home says, they worked quickly to determine the source.
"Because of the substance, they were able to track it down and run their dye through out building and fortunately able to determine that the break in the sewer line was in the street right in front of our building," Jeffers says.

They say because of quick action, nearby residents are not in danger.
"We immediately called the environmental company in to pull that water out of the trench area and remove it and put it in a sanitary sewer where it's normally supposed to go, and when we did that, we actually treated the ground and the area around it as well," Chief Foulks says.

Meg Lockhart with  the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation tells News 5, they won't know for sure if the soil was contaminated until they get the test results back.
College Street is back open.