Settlement Reached In Oak Glen Oil Spill

Nov 23, 2016

Great Parks of Hamilton County says it's reached a settlement with Sunoco Pipeline. An oil line ruptured in March 2014 releasing thousands of gallons of oil into the Oak Glen Nature Preserve.

Great Parks Executive Director Jack Sutton says Sunoco is funding the clean up and restoration, and paying $923,000.

"They are also responsible for ongoing maintenance and monitoring of the site for a number of years, and should any of the restoration not perform according to plan, then they are responsible for making the necessary repairs or revisions in the future."

Clean-up began immediately after the incident and work started this summer on a three-phase restoration plan. That work should wrap up in Spring 2017.

Read more about the clean-up and restoration work here.

On March 17, 2014 neighbors reported a diesel smell coming from the preserve. An underground line rubbing against shale had ruptured. Sunoco Pipeline estimates 450 barrels, or nearly 20,000 gallons of oil, were released. The company says roughly 19,000 were recovered.

When reached for comment, a Sunoco spokesman said the company will let the settlement speak for itself.

The Ohio EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife are pursuing separate actions against the company.

Sunoco Pipeline is funding the clean up and ongoing environmental monitoring, but it won't say how much it's spending.

A tube containing an oil collecting boom stands in June 2016 in the widened creek bed next to a sign designating a portion of the clean up. The creek bed should be much narrower and the green, grassy material covering the hillside is actually an invasive stiltgrass tracked in by work crews.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Earlier this year, WVXU reported on the restoration plan. Great Parks Natural Resources Director Bret Henninger said then that Great Parks was coming to grips with the fact that there's going to be oil at the site for possibly a decade or longer.

"How far do you chase the oil and how much damage do you do," he said. "Or do you come up with a plan that gets as much as you can and then we sort of rely on natural processes and collection of that oil over time. We don't want to go up on theĀ  hill and destroy ten acres of forest to get all of that oil out of the rock. It just doesn't make sense to do that. That's not good for the ecology long term or short term."