An environmental cleanup of thousands of gallons of fuel is concluded after a tanker spill on a Mark Clark Expressway entrance ramp from Virginia Avenue in North Charleston, the Coast Guard said Friday.
The 18-wheeler turned on its side Tuesday night, splitting the tank and pouring thousands of gallons of gasoline and kerosene into the marsh of Filbin Creek.
Officials said the fuel harmed fish, marsh and possibly small trees in and around the tidal creek, where North Charleston has a park, floating dock and boat ramp. The gasoline and kerosene is believed to have been kept out of the nearby Cooper River, they said.
The Coast Guard said about 18,500 gallons of oily water and 3,000 gallons of gasoline and kerosene were collected to minimize damage to the environment and wildlife.
On Tuesday night, firefighters spread foam over the area to reduce fuel vapors, which were at risk of igniting.
They later used water to flush fuel from the marsh into the creek, and floating booms on the creek kept the fuel from washing out with the tide. Vacuum trucks and absorbent material were used to remove the fuel.
Dead fish and schools of minnows gasping for air were seen Wednesday, but no dead or distressed fish were observed Thursday.
Health officials said the spill would cause "immediate toxicity" for some species but would not be a long-term problem.
Some lanes on Virginia Avenue at the site of the spill were closed during the cleanup.
The truck driver was charged with driving too fast for conditions. The truck's representative contracted with an environmental cleanup firm to help remove the fuel.