Crews work to clean up oil in Ohio nature preserve


CINCINNATI (AP) — Crews worked Wednesday to prevent the
spread of more than 10,000 gallons of oil that leaked into a southwest
Ohio nature preserve and clean up the mess, a task expected to take
several days.
Workers put berms and barriers in place and dug
containment ditches before rain fell Wednesday at the 374-acre Oak Glen
Nature Preserve, west of Cincinnati. They vacuumed crude from the wooded
ravine and wetlands where it leaked, and planned to build an access
road for heavy equipment.
Some 240 barrels of crude oil leaked
near the Great Miami River before it was discovered early Tuesday and
the pipeline was shut off. Greater Cincinnati Water Works spokeswoman
Michele Ralston said the leak posed no threat to the public water
supply, but local officials planned to test private wells in the area.
of Wednesday, the only sign of damage to wildlife was a single dead
crawfish, said Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesman Matt
The 20-inch diameter pipeline is part of Mid-Valley
Pipeline Co.’s system running nearly 1,000 miles from Texas to Michigan.
It is primarily owned by Sunoco Logistics Partners.
Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields said the pipeline was shut off from Hebron, in northern Kentucky, to Lima,
in northwest Ohio.
"There’s no timeline on restarting," Shields said. "We’re still evaluating the impact on
our customers."
He said it was too soon to estimate the cleanup cost.
had a 15-strong response team at the site, joining U.S. and Ohio
Environmental Protection Agency officials, environmental cleanup crews
under contract, and local authorities.
The oil leaked into an
intermittent stream nearly a mile long and into an acre-sized marshy
area. The preserve is part of the Great Parks of Hamilton County system.
Described by the parks department as an area of rugged hills with
wildflowers and woods, the preserve also hosts native animals including
deer and a variety of birds.
Shields said the cause of the leak
was under investigation. He said crews confirmed the release at about 1
a.m. Tuesday and that part of the pipeline was shut down immediately.
Township Fire Capt. Steve Conn said it is not known how long the
pipeline had been leaking. He told The Cincinnati Enquirer that
residents near the preserve said they had smelled petroleum for days.
EPA spokeswoman Heather Lauer said the pipeline dates back to the
1950s. She said there’s no record of any previous problems at the site.
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