Thousands of Gallons of Crude Oil Spills in Ohio Nature Preserve

By Eric Zerkel
Published: March 21, 2014

Crude oil pools in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve. (EPA)

As Gary Broughton drove down a stretch of rural road around 20 miles northwest of downtown Cincinnati  on Monday night, an "oily, fuel" smell so strong overcame him that he stopped his vehicle to investigate. But what Broughton discovered was even more foul: some 240 barrels of crude oil — an EPA estimated 10,000 gallons worth — pooled in a football field-sized area in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve. 

“It made me sick when I saw it, I couldn't believe it,” Broughton told WLWT. “It is terrible, absolutely terrible."

Soon the area was teeming with crews from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local first responders, who discovered that a section of an underground crude oil pipeline — owned primarily by Sunoco and operated by Mid-Valley Pipeline Co. — that stretches from Michigan to Texas had sprung a leak, reports WCPO. Investigators determined that the crude oil had seeped into a mile-long stretch of creek and floated down to the marshland where it pooled. 

By early Tuesday morning the pipeline had been shut off, contained the spill and crews began excavating the oil from the site. The cleanup is expected to take at least a week, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. 

Bob Mason, a stewardship manager for the company that owns Oak Glen Nature Preserve, told the Enquirer that the spill "could definitely have been worse later in the spring when all of our wildlife is coming out of hibernation" and that the frozen turf helped to contain the spill. 

(WATCH: Could This Be the End of Society as We Know It?)

A Greater Cincinnati Water Works spokesperson told the Associated Press that the crude oil wouldn't threaten the public water supply  because of water treatment plants located upstream. Still, officials were testing private wells in the area for signs of contamination. 

So far, investigations haven't determined how long, or why, the leak has sprung, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, but the pipeline has a rather dubious environmental history. The paper outlines 39 other accidents stemming from the pipeline since 2006, totaling more than $7 million in property damage during that time.

According to the Enquirer, the pipeline was last inspected in 2011. Residents told officials that they had smelled petroleum for days, but local authorities said they had received no complaints before the spill was discovered. 

MORE: Oil Pipeline Explodes in China

This picture taken on November 22, 2013 shows a general view of the damage after an oil pipeline exploded, ripping roads apart, turning cars over and sending thick black smoke billowing over the city of Qingdao, east China's Shandong province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)


Ad Blocker Enabled

Featured Blogs

Extreme 'Grey Swan' Hurricanes in Tampa Bay: a Potential Future Catastrophe

By Dr. Jeff Masters
July 26, 2016

Hurricanes more extreme than any observed in recorded history can occur in a warming climate, and can be anticipated by combining physical knowledge with historical data. The risk of such “grey swan” hurricanes for Tampa, Florida may increase by up to a factor of fourteen by the end of the century, thanks to our changing climate.

Hottest Reliably Measured Air Temperatures on Earth

By Christopher C. Burt
July 22, 2016

As Jeff Masters mentioned in his recent blog, a temperature of 54.0°C (129.2°F) was observed at Mitribah, Kuwait on July 21st. According to the Kuwait Meteorological Department this was the hottest temperature ever measured in the country (a reading of 54.4°C/129.9°F observed at the same site on July 16, 2010 has been disallowed as a result of a faulty sensor). The 54.0°C reading also is a new record for Asia and ties a similar reading at Death Valley (on June 30, 2013) as the hottest reliably measured temperature on Earth. The key word here is ‘reliably’. Many hotter temperatures have been reported from around the world in years past. However, all of these have credibility issues. In that vein I am going to revisit a blog I first posted on WU in October 2010 listing all the various claims to temperature readings at or above 54°C (129.2°F). In the years since I made that post I’ve learned more about some of these claims and have thus updated my entries and ‘validity’ scores as a result.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.