City waits on test results after cleanup of chemical spill near Burlington beach

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington’s Leddy Beach remained closed Thursday-- and could be closed through the weekend-- after a chemical spill.

“It’s really out of an abundance of caution that we have taken this step,” said Chapin Spencer, the director of Burlington Public Works.

A contractor working on a storm pipe Wednesday at 216 Leddy Park Road spilled 50 gallons of condensate that had 1 gallon of styrene into a tributary connecting to Lake Champlain.

“We set up an emergency response. We had an environmental remediation company on site, I was on site,” Spencer said.

According to the Agency of Natural Resources, there is no evidence that anything actually made it into Lake Champlain; it was contained to a tributary of Lake Champlain. But Leddy Beach is still closed while the state and city await results.

“We are testing the swale and the water immediately adjacent in the lake,” Spencer said.

The concern-- styrene is a flammable compound. The Vermont Department of Health says it’s reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen.

The city says in collaboration with the state and an environmental remediation company, they used a vacuum truck, absorbent pads and booms to stop the liquid’s spread.

“We certainly will have results by early next week-- hopefully, sooner than that-- so that we can tell the public everything is safe and fine,” Spencer said.

Spencer says the park and beach section remains open, but until the test results are in, people should keep themselves and their furry friends out of the water.

“Ultimately people can recreate and enjoy Leddy Park, and we will update the public when we get the test results in,” Spencer said.

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Burlington beach closed due to accidental discharge that may contain carcinogen