Officials say Shenango River oil spill is contained
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Hours after about 14,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Shenango River in Mercer County on Wednesday, cleanup efforts were well under way, and officials said the spill had been contained.
The spill was reported early Wednesday morning. Workers at Duferco Farrell Corp. in Farrell believed they were pumping oil from an oil storage cellar into a storage tank until they realized the storage tank level was not rising. After investigating, they determined the oil was being released directly into the river.
Early reports put the spill at nearly 20,000 gallons of coolant and hydraulic oil, but after further investigation, it was reported that the spill was an oil-water mix of just under 14,000 gallons.
After a day of containment efforts that started early in the morning, Frank Jannetti, director of public safety for Mercer County, said things were going well.
Part of the reason the oil spill might have been easier to control is because the water is slow-moving, said Freda Tarbell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection's northwest regional office.
An incident command post had been set up at the spill site where agencies decided how to respond to the incident. Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the DEP and others were there Wednesday, Mr. Jannetti said.
And while response efforts are only expected to last into today, if oil lingers along the shoreline, it could take days or weeks to be completely cleared, Ms. Tarbell said.
The oil traveled about 4.5 miles down the Shenango, which eventually flows into the Beaver River and then into the Ohio River, Mr. Jannetti said. Five different sets of booms to contain the oil had been placed over five miles, from Duferco Farrell Corp. to Route 208 near Lawrence County.
"We put containment boom across the river to stop the flow of product," Mr. Jannetti said. Then vacuum trucks from McCutcheon Enterprises Inc. clear the remaining oil.
While no downstream water companies that provide drinking water were notified to shut off their inflows from the river, they had been asked to monitor their intakes, Mr. Jannetti said. At this point, no drinking water has been affected.
First Published August 12, 2010 12:00 am