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Environment

Memories of the 'Slick of '76'

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Courtesy: Save the River
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Cleanup workers in Alexandria Bay after the NEPCO 140 oil spill

On June 23, 1976, an oil barge called the NEPCO-140 ran into a shoal on the St. Lawrence River, spilling 300,000 gallons of crude into the heart of the Thousand Islands. The "Slick of ‘76" remains one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history.

That tragic incident changed how local residents viewed the St. Lawrence River. Many felt a strong urge to protect it from future catastrophes.

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Credit Julia Botero / WRVO News
T. Menkel volunteered to help the cleanup effort in 1976

To mark the 40th anniversary, WRVO's Julia Botero spoke with resident T. Menkel about his memories of the spill and what happened afterwards. Menkel was 25 at the time, working as a bartender at the Thousand Islands Club.

Two years after the spill, a group of locals -- including Menkel -- started the environmental group called Save the River, which continues its work today.