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Crystal Drive was closed for several hours yesterday due to utility company accident

Cleanup crews on Crystal Drive tending to oily water that flooded the road on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13 (via Arlington County)

Part of Crystal Drive was closed for several hours yesterday after a utility worker inadvertently pumped oily water onto the road.

The Arlington County Fire Department, including its hazmat unit, was the first to respond to the scene in Crystal City for initial reports of an “unknown amount of gas in the roadway,” according to scanner traffic.

Crystal Drive was closed in both directions between 15th and 23rd Street S. according to an Arlington Alert message sent out shortly before 2 p.m.

Responders then called in Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, and its sand truck, to handle cleanup, per the scanner. The cleanup crews could be seen near 20th Street S. and Crystal Drive on live camera feed.

DES spokeswoman Katie O’Brien told ARLnow Wednesday evening that oily water had flooded the road.

“A contractor for Pepco, pumping water out of an old electrical transmission vault, accidentally released oily water into the roadway,” she said. “An absorbent and sand was placed on the roadway to contain the oil and prevent slipping. The contractor is working to clean the area.”

The road reopened around 7:30 p.m.

Pepco, of course, serves customers in D.C. and suburban Maryland, not Virginia. It does, however, have communication and power transmission lines in the Crystal City area, according to O’Brien.

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