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OEPA: 2,000 gallons of waste oil spilled into Vienna, Ohio wetlands

OEPA: 2,000 gallons of waste oil spilled into Vienna, Ohio wetlands


Workers from Kleese Development were back at two ponds and the Little Yankee Run wetlands on Sodom Hutchings Road on Friday for a second day, cleaning up an estimated 2,000 gallons or more of “light waste oil” from Kleese’s oilfield-services company nearby.

The company issued a statement late Friday saying the company was halting all operations at the Sodom Hutchings location, including brine injection “for the immediate future out of an abundance of caution.”

Kleese and the spill are just north of Warren-Sharon Road.

The oil came from a “buried drain pipe” associated with the Kleese site, but EPA officials still are studying the pipe to determine its origin, said Linda Oros, Ohio EPA spokeswoman.

So far, there has been no indication the oil came from the holding tanks used in association with the Kleese injection facilities, Oros said.

Two wetlands and a private pond were “severely impacted,” Oros said. Oil waste traveled 3,000 feet down a tributary stream of Little Yankee Run, but the leading edge of the oil has been contained, she said.

When The Vindicator viewed the site Friday morning, it appeared that the oil had gotten into two ponds on the east side of Sodom Hutchings Road, but a third pond did not appear to have any oil on it.

A resident living next to one of the two affected ponds, which are just north of the Kleese site, said he called the EPA on Monday after seeing a dead muskrat by the pond and a sheen on the water.

State officials came to the scene Thursday, and the cleanup began Thursday night, he said. In addition to the muskrat, the man and his neighbor have discovered many dead fish, some dead frogs and a dead turtle, he said. –

Oros, however, said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife reported that there was “minimal impact to wildlife.”Kleese, also known as KDA, brought in a private contractor, as well as “in-house personnel and equipment” to contain and clean up the spill, Oros said.

A cleanup plan was being developed Friday morning, and the full impact of the spill was still being determined, she said.

The homeowner who called authorities said he contacted the Ohio EPA in Columbus a couple of times early in the week but was told the ODNR would be the agency to respond.Oros said the Ohio EPA responded to the site Thursday after a representative of the ODNR Division of Oil and Gas notified them of the spill.

The resident said the lake was stocked with bluegill and bass, but it appears the only fish that survived are a few large koi.

The cleanup was focused on the pond beside the resident’s house Thursday. But sometime overnight, the cleanup moved to a pond farther back from the road, he said.

The Vindicator observed workers at the second pond Friday morning using a vacuum truck to pull the oil from the pond, and a Bobcat mini-excavator was being used to move soil from the bank.A company statement late Friday said Kleese Development Associates is a “family owned and operated oil and gas company” for which “the well-being of our team and the environment remains our top priority.”

The company also has launched “an internal review of KDA protocols to ensure that we have the right processes in place to promote environmental stewardship.”

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By: Ed Runyan Published: Sat, April 4, 2015 @ 12:04 a.m.



Vienna residents receive donated water, expedited tests

Posted: Apr 06, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Updated: Apr 06, 2015 3:55 PM EDT

VIENNA TWP., Ohio – Vienna residents may find some relief for an oil spill affecting their wetlands is just around the corner.State Representative Sean O’Brien announced Monday morning that the Nestle company has donated two truck loads of donated water to Vienna residents dealing with the recent spill.

Rep. O’Brien will announce more details at a press conference at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Youngstown at 1:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

Rep. O’Brien told 21 News that the struggle of the Vienna residents had captured the attention of the Nestle company.

Residents say they have, up to this point, not been told frankly whether their water is safe for consumption.

Following a leak of over 2,000 gallons of “light waste” the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency informed residents that if they had well water they could contact the Ohio EPA or the local health department to determine if testing was needed to determine if their well was safe.

Several neighbors expressed to 21 News a fear that while they were waiting for testing, they were unsure if their water was safe.

Representatives for the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources told 21 News that they would begin testing resident’s well water Monday afternoon.

Officials say the samples will be sent for “expedited” testing, as they hope to give residents a quick turn around on results.

The Ohio EPA says officially they’re still unsure what the source of the “light waste” leakage, which has affected residents’ ponds, as well as the nearby wetlands is.

Residents from the EPA say they’re still attempting to determine what the substance is comprised of, how wide spread the leak has traveled, as well as how many people may be impacted.

Following the spill a local injection well company, Kleese Development Associates, voluntarily shut down operations while the EPA toured the property.

KDA issued a statement saying it’s taking immediate action including “launching an internal review of KDA protocols to ensure that we have the right processes in place to promote environmental stewardship.”

Over the weekend Vienna Township officials announced an emergency township meeting for residents Monday at 6 p.m. at Mathews High School. A representative from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has volunteered to attend the meeting.

The meeting follows numerous phone calls fielded by Township trustees, who say they’ve not been provided any official updates from the state agencies on the scene.


VIENNA, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has ordered five injection wells operated by Kleese Development Associates, Warren, to cease operations after it found the company is responsible for contamination of a nearby pond and wetland.

ODNR oil and gas chief Richard Simmers issued the order April 3, one day after the agency became aware of the spill, according to documents. Kleese must also remediate any contamination at the site, the regulatory agency said.

Kleese uses a single surface facility at 5061 Warren-Sharon Road for all five of its Vienna Township wells, according to the ODNR report. The operation was built to accommodate two wells initially, but was expanded in 2012 with ODNR’s authorization.

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The company told media outlets before the ODNR order that it had voluntarily shut down its operations after the spill was discovered. Kleese issued a statement late Monday saying it’s “launching an internal review of KDA protocols to ensure that we have the right processes in place to promote environmental stewardship.”

John Hopkinson of 884 Sodom Hutchings Road, who owns a pond near the Kleese wells, notified the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency April 1 of the spill and lodged a formal complaint, according to a pollution incident report. He said that he first discovered the contamination March 25 as the ice melted, reporting a “scum-type material on his pond” that had a “petroleum type odor.”

“There was this orange slime,” Hopkinson reported. “It looked really bad.”

“They’ve got booms in the water right now, and removing a lot of the scum,” Hopkinson said Monday. “They’re working nonstop.”

During an emergency meeting of the Vienna Township Trustees last night, attended by about 150 residents, the OEPA’s Kurt Kollar said nearly all the surface contamination has been removed but it could take months to clean up what remains on the contaminated vegetation.

Kollar said the investigation is continuing into what caused the spill of some 2,000 gallons of waste oil and indications are its source may be a storm drain on Kleese property.

When Hopkinson first noticed the spill, there were 30 to 40 dead fish along the pond’s banks, a dead turtle, and a dead muskrat, he said. The Ohio EPA is also supposed to test the well water soon, he says. His water well is just 50 feet from the contaminated pond.

State Rep. Sean O’Brien, D-33, said Monday that Nestle Co. donated two truckloads of water to Vienna residents concerned about whether their water was safe to drink.

“As of right now, it’s starting to look better,” Hopkinson said of his pond. “It’s in a wait-and-see mode right now.”

Hopkinson’s pond feeds into a larger lake behind his property, and he said workers were busy Monday containing any contamination of that area.

“It’s not a good situation,” he added.

ODNR’s oil and gas division said it was notified of the incident April 2, the chief’s order says, and inspectors traced the spill “back to an area near the Kleese surface facility.” The investigation determined that the spill was likely related to the injection-well operations.

The division found that Kleese violated Ohio law by failing to conduct saltwater disposal operations in a “manner that which will not contaminate or pollute the surface of the land, or water on the surface or subsurface.” The findings also cite Kleese for failing to construct a surface facility “so as to prevent pollution to surrounding surface and subsurface soils and waters.”

Susie Beiersdorfer of Frack Free Mahoning County, an organization opposed to the practice of hydraulic fracturing and using injection wells to store contaminated waste, noted that Hopkinson contacted the group after he discovered the spill.

“He called our number, so a couple people went out Thursday and Friday,” she said. FrackFree representatives then took photos of the damage.

“When we were out there, the smell, the dead animals and the devastation of the land and ponds was just really sad,” Beiersdorfer said.

Pictured: Submitted photo of the spill along the pond’s banks.

Copyright 2015 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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