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Spill at injection well threatened water supply near Warren

Spill at injection well threatened water supply near Warren

Residents in Vienna Township relied on bottled water for a week


Local officials are seeking answers after a chemical spill at an injection well facility threated a northeast Ohio township’s water supply.

Inspectors earlier this month traced a chemical spill in Vienna Township to a Kleese Development Associates facility, which operates five saltwater injection wells.

Residents in the township near Warren relied on bottled water for a week as officials investigated the spill.

The facility was ordered to cease operations, and officials say they don’t want it reopened until they have answers.

Vienna Township Trustee Phil Pegg tells WKBN-TV he wants hearings to determine what happened, who’s responsible for the leak and how to fix it.

The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports the Trumbull County Commissioners on Wednesday agreed to join township leaders to push for more injection well regulations.

The Repository


ODNR: Injection well operation likely source of Vienna spill

Posted: Apr 20, 2015 3:13 PM EDT Updated: Apr 20, 2015 8:02 PM EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio – State officials say they’re pretty sure that they know where a spill at a Vienna Township wetland area came from, but they say they still aren’t sure exactly what was spilled.Matt Eiselstein of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources tells 21 News that their investigation has shown “with a great degree of certainty” that the Kleese Development Associates injection well site is the source of a leak of 2,000 gallons along the 800 block of Sodom Hutchings Road.

For that reason, says Eisenstein, the ODNR ordered KDA to cease all operations and order an immediate private cleanup of the area.

However, the ODNR says the chemical composition of the leak has not yet been identified and testing continues.

The EPA says tests on six representative water wells at homes in the area have shown no contamination.

Fish, turtles and other forms of wildlife were found dead in the area of the spill.

Brine disposal operations at KDA remain shut down.


Dead wildlife found at wetland oil spill in Vienna

Posted: Apr 03, 2015 3:22 PM EDT Updated: Apr 03, 2015 11:24 PM EDT

VIENNA TWP., Ohio – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency believes at least 2,000 gallons of oil, described as “light waste”, from a well site in Vienna leaked into registered wetlands and properties along Sodom-Hutchins Road.Dead fish floating, dead turtles and a dead muskrat were discovered along with an an orange substance near spill sites, including the edges of the Hopkinson family’s pond.

Those who have called this land their own for generations are puzzled and upset.

“This is my land and I’m concerned how this is going to effect my children,” John Hopkinson said, of Vienna.

Hopkinson has four young children and he’s concerned about his water supply and the future of his pond.

Michael Zydyk’s family owns close to 180 acres along Sodom-Hutchins Road and used to live on Hopkinson’s property.

“I wanted to see for myself and walking around, I see the dead fish, the coy fish and everything that I remember putting in as a kid and they’re not going to make it,” Zydyk said.

The EPA supervised as crews worked to clean up some of the spill on a portion of his property at the corner of Sodom Hutchins Road and Warren-Sharon Road, which sits across the street from Kleese Development Associates. KDA operates five wells sites on its property across the street, one is a deep injection well.

KDA voluntarily shutdown operations Friday, while the Ohio Department of Natural Resources toured the property. The EPA determined that the cause of the leak was linked to an underground pipe on the property that was discharging “light waste”.

The EPA says two wetlands and a private pond were severely impacted by the spill. The EPA says it’s in the process of developing a clean up plan and it’s believed the spill is contained to the areas effected.

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.”

John Hopkinson says he reported the spill on an EPA hot line on Monday and was told to call back in two days. He says he called again Wednesday and that the ODNR and EPA did not arrive until Thursday afternoon. Hopkinson tells 21 News he told the EPA about an orange substance in his pond and that he lived near an injection well site.

Vienna Township Trustee Phil Pegg and Vienna’s fire chief are upset they weren’t notified of the spill sooner.

The EPA tells 21 News that residents should contact the local health department to determine whether or not they should test their private water wells.


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.


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