Pipelines continue their spilling, leaking ways this time in a stream and marshy pond in a nature preserve in Colerain Township, Ohio, federal officials said.
Around 10,000 gallons of crude oil ended up discovered spilled from an underground pipeline into the stream and marshy pond Monday night and will be “tricky” to clean up, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials said Tuesday.
The spill didn’t injure anyone and remained contained to the spill site by Tuesday afternoon, said state and federal EPA officials.
To clean up the spill crews will need to “build a road” to get heavy machinery into the spill area, a part of the Oak Glen Nature Preserve, to vacuum up the oil and dig up contaminated soil. With rain in the forecast, they will have to build a containment structure to capture oil and keep it from reaching the Great Miami River, just 500 feet away, or spreading out on the site, said Heather Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA.
Right now, they estimate the process will take at least a week.
The incident is at least the third time in the last decade that oil has leaked in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region from this pipe, owned by Sunoco Logistics and operated by Mid-Valley Pipeline Co., both subsidiaries of Sunoco. It is the 40th incident since 2006 along the pipeline, which stretches 1,100 miles from Texas to Michigan, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The cause of this most recent leak remains under investigation by the U.S. EPA.
After leaking from the pipeline, the oil ran about half of a mile down a stream into a marshy pond, just west of East Miami River Road.
Even if some of the “sweet crude” – a lighter, thinner oil than sour crude – makes its way into the nearby Great Miami, regional drinking water will not end up threatened because water treatment plants are upstream on the Great Miami in Fairfield and upstream on the Ohio River, said Greater Cincinnati Water Works spokeswoman Michele Ralston.
Communities downstream, including Lawrenceburg and Louisville, also have nothing to worry about at this time, said Jerry Schulte, a manager involved in water protection and emergency response for the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.
Federal records show inspectors last checked the pipeline in 2011; the records do not include any current or ongoing inspections.
A system-wide inspection of the 1,119-mile-long pipeline in 2009 resulted in the company paying a $48,700 fine in 2012 for failing to address corrosion problems in the pipeline at the Oregon refinery for three years.
In addition, the operator received three warnings stemming from the 2009 inspection. One of them was for failing to inspect the pipeline crossing under the Ohio River between Addyston and Hebron for more than five years. Pipelines that go beneath bodies of navigable water must get additional scrutiny under federal regulation. The pipeline did not undergo an inspection by running a device through it from May 2004 until August 2009.
In addition, the federal records show Mid-Valley received a warning in 2006 for not having pipeline route markers along a pipeline section in Hebron where people could reach it. And it received a fine of $35,000 in 2006 for a 2002 inspection where the operator received a citation for failing to run a proper program of continuing education reminding people that the pipeline runs through parts of Kentucky and Ohio. The operator had sent calendars to residents living near the pipeline, but didn’t include any public agencies or excavation services in the program.
From 2006 to 2013, leaks and spills from the pipeline caused $7.5 million in property damage, $1.3 million done in 2008 in Burlington. In the previous 39 accidents, workers recovered 88 percent of the oil spilled.
The pipeline starts in Longview, TX (about 125 miles east of Dallas), and ends in Samaria, MI, about 12 miles north of Toledo and about 53 miles southwest of Detroit. Its size varies depending on the location from 8 inches in diameter to 22 inches in diameter. It only carries crude oil, with destinations in Ohio that include a Husky refinery in Lima and a BP refinery in Oregon (suburban Toledo).