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Stretch of Ohio River reopens after fuel oil spill

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 19, 2014 at 7:09 pm •  Published: August 19, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) — A 15-mile stretch of the Ohio River closed after a fuel oil spill reopened to river traffic on Tuesday with some restrictions as containment and cleanup continued.

River traffic in that area must get Coast Guard clearance and maintain a safe speed, agency spokeswoman Lt. Katherine Cameron said. The area was closed to all traffic, including barges carrying commercial goods, after the spill from a Duke Energy power plant in New Richmond.

The spill at the W.C. Beckjord Station happened at about 11:15 p.m. Monday during a routine transfer of fuel oil from a larger tank to smaller ones and was stopped within about 15 minutes, Duke spokeswoman Sally Thelen said.

The spill at the plant 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati was considered medium-sized, a designation that applies to inland leaks between 1,000 and 10,000 gallons of oil, Cameron said. Authorities earlier estimated about 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of oil spilled, but the Coast Guard and Duke Energy later Tuesday lowered those estimates to up to 5,000 gallons.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that the federal agency had taken the lead as on-scene coordinator and was directing the cleanup efforts being carried out by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy.

The federal and Ohio EPAs and the Coast Guard were working to minimize damage to the Ohio River and surrounding communities, U.S. EPA Incident Commander Steven Renninger said in a statement.

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