A crack in the scarred and dented Colonial Pipeline has allowed 350,000 gallons of fuel to seep into the ground in Reston, Va. The spill, which occurred early July 27, has elicited a local state of emergency and is believed to be the worst Fairfax County in over a decade.

No official evacuations have been ordered, although 41 residents have chosen to temporarily relocated. Pungent odors have been reported by citizens in the neighborhoods surrounding Sugarland Run, where the majority of the fuel spilled. Officials warn the fumes are potentially hazardous to pregnant women and children.

Listen to the reaction of local Jane Doe and recommendations for residents from Fairfax Fire Chief Glenn Gaines.

One third of the oil has breached the Potomac River after flowing into Sugarland Run Creek, a smaller tributary. Drinking water has not been contaminated but water supply intake valves 200 feet downstream from the spill have been closed.

The pipeline, owned by Atlanta-based Colonial Pipeline Inc., was found with a 42-inch gash that officials believe resulted from construction crews striking it with a back hoe or bulldozer several years ago. An 18-foot section of the line has been sent to the National Transportation Safety Board to assist in their investigation of the spill.

Surrounding wildlife already feel the effects

Fairfax County animal control has been on scene to minimize threats to animals that inhabit the area. Wardens say 44 injured animals have been rescued, namely ducks, geese, beavers and turtles. A 60-pound beaver is one of the nine animals that have died as a result of exposure to the oil. Estimates of effects on fish are more difficult to predict. Wardens expect dead fish to begin to surface as the weather warms.

Clean Up Efforts are Underway

Local fire and rescue departments have paired with the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency to provide man-power to contain and clear the spill. Workers are utilizing dikes and absorbent booms to curb the further spread of the oil. A spokesman for Colonial Pipeline Company said 237,000 gallons of oil infused water has been collected. Company officials estimate total clean-up costs to reach $1 million.

What residents can expect

Locals may experience a drop in water pressure due to the closure of intake valves. Tap water is safe for consumption but residents are asked to voluntarily reduce water consumption until the plant reopens.

Those closest to the location of the spill are urged to stay inside while clean-up crews work to remove the toxins.