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Ohio EPA orders Austintown oil-spill cleanup

By Elise Franco

Saturday, April 30, 2011

By Elise Franco


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has ordered an oil- recycling company to clean up about 200 gallons of oil that leaked into local streams and sewers.

Austintown Fire Chief Andy Frost Jr. said that about 8 p.m. Thursday, fire crews were called to the corner of North Four Mile Run Road and Oakwood Avenue after members of the Youngstown Fire Department said they’d found an unidentified substance leaking from the ground in the city.

Frost said the substance, which turned out to be a type of lubricating oil, was traced to Everclear of Ohio, 3700 Oakwood Ave. in Austintown.

“There was a substance in Bears Den Creek that went down into the Lily Pond area of Mill Creek Park,” he said. “The EPA was called in and found a discharge coming from a sewer line at Everclear.”

Frost said 200 to 300 gallons of oil had spilled inside the facility the previous day, though fire crews were told by Everclear representatives that the spill was cleaned.

Everclear didn’t return calls for comment Friday afternoon.

Frost said fire and hazardous-materials crews were on the site until about midnight setting up equipment to begin collecting the oil off the top of the water, but it’s now up to Everclear to finish the cleanup.

Erin Strouse, Ohio EPA spokeswoman, said Everclear workers were on the site Thursday night into Friday cleaning up the water, starting with the affected area in Mill Creek MetroParks.

She said the EPA found no signs of fish or wildlife distress as a result of the spill, which spanned about one mile downstream.

“They’re sucking approximately 200 gallons out with vacuum pumps,” she said. “We’ll be keeping an eye out for the next week or two to make sure there are no residual effects.”

MetroParks Executive Director Clarke Johnson said he hadn’t been informed of the contamination as of Friday afternoon.

Stouse said the EPA issued the company a citation for failing to properly contain the spill. She said any fines or penalties will be determined after a final investigation report is completed in about two weeks.

“This was a case of water quality violations,” she said. “It seemed to be an accident ... It’s really too soon to say if there will be a penalty.”