Environment
1:12 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Pipeline leak spills thousands of gallons of oil into Colerain Township nature preserve

Crews are preparing to clean up thousands of gallons of oil that began leaking Monday evening from a pipeline running through a Colerain Township nature preserve.

"My first thought was: what a mess." -Bob Mason

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency estimates 7,000-10,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Oak Glen Nature Preserve. Sunoco subsidiary Mid-Valley Pipeline Co. estimates the spill amounts to about 240 barrels.

The EPA says the spill was reported shortly after 8 p.m. Monday. Great Parks of Hamilton County spokeswoman Jennifer Sivak says the park district was notified around 9 p.m.

Sivak says, "The extent of the impact to the nature preserve and the wildlife is unknown at this moment. The EPA is currently assessing the situation and determining a course of action."

Great Parks Stewardship Manager Bob Mason says, "In a way we’re fortunate it collected in this little pond or wetland because the next stop would have been the Great Miami River."

Park map detail of the spill zone.
Credit Great Parks of Hamilton County

The pipeline has been shutdown on both sides of the leak and a contractor has been brought in to clean up the spill.

Ohio EPA spokeswoman Heather Lauer says, "The contractor is planning to vacuum the wetland and build a control structure to keep additional oil from entering the wetland. This is in part because rain is forecast. In addition, a temporary road needs to be built to the point of the pipeline break so that a crew can get in and make the repair."

Drinking water in the area remains safe according to the Greater Cincinnati Water Works. Spokeswoman Michele Ralston says, "The oil spill occurred down stream of our water sources and will not impact our water supply.”

The EPA says the spill affects a pond at the preserve "located within 500-ft of the Great Miami River." However, the agency adds, "no crude oil has been observed to have been released into the Great Miami River."

The Mid-Valley pipeline extends almost 1,000 miles from Texas to Michigan. A Sunoco spokesman tells the Associated Press the company will release a statement sometime Tuesday.

Great Parks of Hamilton County describes Oak Glen as "294 acres of rugged hills with a rich diversity of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers."

View more images here.