CINCINNATI - Crews are continuing the clean up of an estimated 10,000 gallons of crude oil that spilled from a broken underground pipeline in Southwest Ohio.
The accident earlier this week affected about a mile of creek in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve, about a quarter mile from the Great Miami River.
Melanie Houston, director of water policy and environmental health with the Ohio Environmental Council, says it’s disturbing to see this type of accident in an area that many believe should be free of oil and gas drilling and its associated infrastructure.
“This demonstrates what are often the external, unrealized and uncaptured costs associated with this industry,” she points out. “Accidents happen like this time and time again, and it’s just really unfortunate to see it in this kind of setting.”
Some at the site have said there’s been little damage to wildlife, but Houston says it’s too early to determine, and there is greater potential for wildlife to be impacted into spring.
The EPA is testing for possible groundwater contamination, and so far investigators have not determined the cause of the leak.
The pipeline is owned by Sunoco and stretches from Michigan to Texas.
Houston says there are requirements for oil and gas companies to not only have inspections of pipelines, but also public education.
She says often the location of pipelines can fly under the radar.
“It looks as if this particular operator has sort of skipped a lot of those important steps, that they were missing some of those important public education outreach pieces to let residents in the surrounding area know the existence of these pipelines,” she says.
The pipeline dates back to the 1950s and, according to the EPA, there are no records of previous problems at the site.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, there have been 39 other accidents since 2006 along the pipeline.