OEPA investigates oil spill near Shenango RiverPublished: 7/25/15 @ 12:00
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency assisted local agencies in containing a crude-oil spill that started in Trumbull County on Friday morning and made its way to the Shenango River in Pennsylvania, forcing Aqua Pennsylvania to turn off its pumps.
As a result, Aqua asked customers in Brookfield Township, Hubbard Township and Hubbard city, along with several communities in Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania, to conserve water until further notice. That’s about 50,000 people, said Donna Alston, an Aqua spokeswoman.
Though the spill was contained quickly with booms along Big Run and Shenango, cleanup was still underway Friday night, and Aqua Pennsylvania, which provides drinking water to customers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, had not been given the go-ahead by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to resume taking water from the river.
A fisherman discovered the oil in Big Run Creek, a tributary of the Shenango River, about 8:16 a.m. and called 911.
First responders reported the oil was leaking from a rusted storage container that holds crude oil separated from a gas well near 2601 Orangeville Road N.E. The OEPA was contacted and assisted with containment of the leak, said Linda Oros, an OEPA spokeswoman.
Brookfield Fire Capt. Mike Hagood said the spill started at a residence on Orangeville Road near Sharpsville-Thompson Road. He said the oil moved through the property in Red Run Creek along Orangeville Road and entered the Shenango River at the North Water Street Bridge just a few blocks from the Aqua water treatment plant.
Hagood said the Mercer County hazmat team and Sharon, Transfer and Hermitage fire departments worked to contain the spill by spreading pads to soak up the oil, placing booms along Red Run Creek and the Shenango River and employing a vacuum truck to remove the oil from the water.
“I think a lot of the oil was contained before it reached the river. It was a multistate, multiagency effort that worked quickly and smoothly,” Hagood said.
Additionally, Hagood said: “We saw no damage to wildlife.”
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, issued the following statement: “I was informed today by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that an estimated 1,700 gallons of oil was spilled into a creek that empties into the Shenango River. I have been assured that the appropriate officials have been notified and are responding accordingly. I will continue to closely monitor this serious situation as it develops. My office will be looking into what exactly has happened, making sure this it is properly cleaned up and steps are taken by state officials to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”