Foscoe Country Corner Store Cleared as the Source of Gas Leak into the Watauga River

Published Friday, June 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm

By Nathan Ham

It turns out that the gasoline storage tanks underground at the former Foscoe Country Corner Store are not the cause of the gasoline leakage into the Watauga River, this according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

The report released last week indicated that the leak does not appear to be from any of the underground tanks on the property of the store, which closed its doors in February.

In August of 2017, a local fisherman reported sheen on the surface of the Watauga River in Foscoe, prompting an investigation that found a petrochemical seep that was contaminating the water.

While the Country Corner Store had stopped selling gasoline well before the doors closed in February, a letter from owner Nicole Roten left at the store pointed towards the Environmental Protection Agency’s continued investigation as one of the reasons why she decided to close the business down.

In her letter, Roten said that “my customers have become my friends and a lot of you have become my extended family. I want to thank you for all your love and support through some of the best and worst times in my life. Tarheel Oil and the EPA have made it impossible for me to continue serving you and my community.”

Roten continued on, saying that she “fought to hold on and make Foscoe Community Corner strong enough to stay above water, but I have lost that battle.”

The investigation into what is causing the gasoline seepage will continue.

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