Investigators believe the spill of 1,680 gallons of crude oil from a tank at an “old-style” gas and oil well at 655 Mahan Denman Road in Bristol Township was an act of vandalism.
The spill Wednesday fouled about 1.5 miles of a nearby tributary of the Grand River, said Mike Settles, spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA and the company ChemTron were at the site again Thursday for cleanup.
About a third of the oil got into the stream, but so far there’s no evidence of fish killed, Settles said.
The other two-thirds of the oil was contained to the soil around the tank and has been recovered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Settles said.
Investigators found that the valve on the storage tank was open, and it previously had been closed and plugged, leading to the vandalism theory, Settles said.
A Trumbull County sheriff’s report says deputies were called to 655 Mahan Denman at 9:42 a.m. for a family dispute involving Mike Tenney and William Tenney, over whether Mike Tenney is supposed to receive free gas from the well.
Mike Tenney told deputies that William Tenney accused him of opening the valve on the storage tank, but Mike Tenney denied doing so.
Several people were concerned about the oil contaminating the water wells in the area, but they were advised that the spill had been contained. The neighbors were advised that if they have any concerns about the color, smell or taste of their well water to contact the Trumbull County Health Department to have it tested.
The tank is off of Mahan Denman between North Park Avenue Extension and Hoagland Blackstub Road.
If the person or people responsible for the spill are identified, the EPA will seek reimbursement from them for the cleanup, Settles said.
Anyone with information about this or other environmental matters is asked to call the EPA hot line at 1-800-282-9378.