Officials report progress in Ohio oil leak cleanup

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm •  Published: March 25, 2014
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CINCINNATI (AP) — Cleanup crews expect to spend about another week vacuuming oil from the ground and water where thousands of gallons of crude leaked from a pipeline into a southwest Ohio nature preserve, officials said Tuesday.

Workers have also been excavating soil near the break since the leak was noticed last week in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve west of Cincinnati. Federal officials estimate more than 20,000 gallons — about 500 barrels — spilled into an intermittent stream and an acre-sized marshy area that forms a pond in wet weather.

The next phase will focus on removing any residual oil in the soil under and around the creek and pond, plus long-term monitoring of soil, water and air quality in the 374-acre preserve, said Capt. Steve Conn, of the Colerain Township Fire Department.

"Probably less than 10 percent of the preserve has been impacted," Conn said.

A spokesman for Sunoco Logistics, the primary owner of the pipeline that was repaired and reopened Sunday, said Tuesday that there is no exact timetable for completion of the next phase, but it could take months.

"We won't leave until the job is done," Sunoco Logistics spokesman Jeff Shields said.

The company is paying for cleanup of the leak that officials have said came from a 5-inch crack in the 20-inch diameter pipeline, but Shields had no estimate of the costs so far.

As of Tuesday, officials said the amount of oil/water mix collected remained unchanged from 35,000 gallons, with some 17,000 gallons of that being crude oil.

Sunoco Logistics shut off the stretch of the Mid-Valley Pipeline Co. system from Hebron, Ky., to Lima, Ohio, early March 18 after a leak was confirmed. Investigators with the Department of Transportation's Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are working to determine what caused the crack.

Conn knew of no previous problems with the pipeline in the more than 20 years he has worked with the fire department. The pipeline dates back to 1950.