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Oil spill damages nature preserve

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- 10,000 gallons of oil spilled from a pipeline contaminating a creek and a pond in a nature preserve.

The oil from the Mid-Valley 20" Pipeline was discovered along a roadway Monday night. The Environmental Protection Agency, The Department of Transportation and management from Sunoco Logistics - which operates the pipeline - descended upon the Oak Glen Nature Preserve.

Some residents said they had smelled a foul odor for a couple of days.

"Saturday morning and Sunday morning we kind of smelled an odor and we thought it might have been from mulch or something. And my daughter was up from Nashville and she smelled the same thing," said Frank Sizemore, who lives near the spill.

Crews used heavy equipment and vacuums to remove the oil from the site of the break, a creek and a pond where the oil had accumulated.

"We do have a large area impacted. The good news is it's contained. The bad news it's a mile of creek impacted. It is going to be a big cleanup," said Steve Renninger with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The pipeline carries oil from Texas to Lima, Ohio and part of Michigan.  Former Colerain Twp. trustee Bernie Fiedeldey said he is concerned about the spill contaminating the area.

"It is a concern that it doesn't get into our drinking water," Fiedeldey said.

Water for Fiedeldey's home comes from a well. He believes the pond where the oil has accumulated is part of the aquifer. An EPA official said Tuesday afternoon that he believes the water is safe to drink.

"We do have a drinking well used for drinking on this side of the road. That will be sampled in the near future. In addition the health department is identifying up to 70 more locations that we'll  be looking into," Steve Renninger said.

Fiedeldey said he hopes the cleanup will be thorough.

"I'm hoping that they go down deep enough and make sure they get all the muck if you will out of there and we're just fine," Fiedeldey said.

The EPA is looking at whether contaminated soil will be dug up and removed from the preserve.

According to U.S. Dept. of Transportation records, the Mid-Valley Pipeline System has had 39 incidents since 2006. In those incidents, more than 31,000 gallons of oil were lost. The incidents caused more than $7.5 million in damage.


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