Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Glen Oak Nature Preserve Oil Leak


Crude oil discovered spilling from an underground pipeline into a stream and marshy pond in a nature preserve in Colerain Township on Monday evening will be "tricky" to clean up, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said Tuesday. They estimated the volume of the spill to be around 10,000 gallons.

The spill, relatively small compared to others reported in recent years -- both in the region and other parts of the country – didn't injure anyone and was contained to the spill site by Tuesday afternoon, according to state and federal Environmental Protection Agency officials.

The EPA and local officials are holding a press conference at 10 a.m. today to update the public on any developments made overnight.

The cost for cleanup could be steep.

Crews will need to "build a road" to get heavy machinery into the spill area, a part of the Oak Glen Nature Preserve, to vacuum up the oil and dig up contaminated soil. With rain in the forecast, a containment structure will be built to capture oil and keep it from reaching the Great Miami River, just some 500 feet away, or spreading out on the site, said Heather Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA.

Map of the pipeline route through Greater Cincinnati.(Photo: The Enquirer/Mike Nyerges)

Right now, the process is expected to take at least a week.

The incident is at least the third time in the last decade that oil has leaked in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region from this pipe, owned by Sunoco Logistics and operated by Mid-Valley Pipeline Co., both subsidiaries of Sunoco. It is the 40th incident since 2006 along the pipeline, which stretches 1,100 miles from Texas to Michigan, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The cause of this most recent leak remains under investigation by the U.S. EPA.

The pipe was laid in the mid-1950s, well before the land was identified as one of four "conservation areas" owned and operated by Great Parks of Hamilton County, which has pieced together the preserve over recent decades. Great Parks' website describes the 364-acre park as "rugged hills with a rich diversity of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers."

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