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Cleanup continues after vandalism causes oil to leak into Huff Run

Cleanup continues after vandalism causes oil to leak into Huff Run

Although cleanup has been underway for three days, the odor of spilled crude oil still marked the site Sunday of last week’s vandalism of an oil well storage tank along Lindentree Road, east of Mineral City.(Ohio)

Officials of Dart Oil Co. of Denver, Colorado, which co-owns the oil well site along with Buckeye Oil of Wooster, have told Tuscarawas County

Sheriff’s deputies that about 60 barrels (3,300 gallons) of crude oil and brine were released when someone took a 3-inch valve off one of the two tanks at the site in Sandy Township.

Marissa Lautzenheiser, coordinator of the Middle Tuscarawas River Watershed, who has been actively involved in the Huff Run Watershed habitat restoration project, is appalled that someone would deliberately commit such an act.

Lautzenheiser said she wants to make it clear that “this would not have happened if not for vandalism.”

Bob Timmerman of Dover, Dart Oil production supervisor, said he’s not sure if the oil and brine release was the result of an attempted theft, or a malicious act of vandalism. Whatever the case, it’s not the value of the oil lost that concerns the companies, but the environmental costs associated with it.

Timmerman estimates the cleanup effort could cost $100,000 or more, with his company and Buckeye Oil sharing the cost. And adding insult to injury, someone already stole the company’s signs and barricades that were put in place to warn travelers of men and equipment working in the area, he said.

“It wasn’t our fault, and we’re dealing with the situation, but it does upset me that people are stealing our stuff,” Timmerman said Sunday.

Lautzenheiser said the oil and brine ran down the well site’s access road, crossed the county road and entered a 2-acre wetlands site, seeped through the wetland and into Huff Run. She praised the companies’ efforts in the cleanup operation so far, and Timmerman promises those efforts will continue “until it is completely cleaned up.”

The efforts include a siphon dam, which utilizes plastic and cotton oil containment booms that allow water to pass, but hold back the oil, which is contained and recovered. The wetlands site, part of a larger 20-acre site, is doing its natural job of filtering out pollutants “and in this case, it’s doing an excellent job of buffering and preventing the crude oil from entering Huff Run,” Lautzenheiser said.

The efforts are being monitored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, both of which have had representatives at the site.

Marissa Lautzenheiser looks over some of the cleanup of the oil spill on Lindentree Road on Sunday.TimesReporter.com / Joe Mizer |

Marissa Lautzenheiser looks over some of the cleanup of the oil spill on Lindentree Road on Sunday.

 

Source: Times Reporter

By: Joe Mizer  TimesReporter.com staff writer  Posted Sep. 13, 2015 at 10:20 PM

LINK: http://www.timesreporter.com/article/20150913/NEWS/150919705

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