U.S. EPA Investigating Oil Slick In Flat Run
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is investigating an oil spill that was discovered in Flat Run Creek, Tuesday morning, June 9.
Andy Brodbeck, Archbold Fire Department chief, said AFD received a call from maintenance workers at Archbold Hospital about oil in the creek. The creek flows along the north side of the hospital property.
Flat Run flows west. It serves as an outlet for a large portion of Archbold storm sewers.
Firefighters responded to the creek, where they spotted "areas of oil." They deployed an absorbent boom across the creek to trap oil as it flowed downstream.
Firefighters searched for, but could not find, an obvious source of the oil.
"It was a pretty windy day, blowing to the east," which would push the oil upstream.
"We weren't sure how big a situation we had," Brodbeck said.
The following day Wednesday, June 10, firefighters again checked the creek, "and it was clear it was a pretty good-sized spill. The entire creek was covered with oil," Brodbeck said.
At that point, Brodbeck said he contacted Brett Kolb, Fulton County emergency services director, who went to the scene, and then contacted the Ohio and federal Environmental Protection Agencies.
An federal EPA official authorized a hazardous materials clean-up company from Bowling Green to remove the oil.
The clean-up crew arrived late Wednesday, and began skimming the oil off of the water.
By late last week, Kolb estimated the spill was "90% cleaned up."
Brodbeck said there was still a slight sheen on the water near the hospital, but once past AFD's original absorbent boom, the water was clear.
Kolb said he walked Flat Run to Co. Rd. 24, where it turns north, then followed the creek for about a half mile; he did not find any sign of oil contamination.
Kolb said there will be a minimal impact on animal life.
An investigation to determine the source of the oil is underway.
If the source can be determined, the company or person responsible can be forced to pay the clean-up costs.
Kolb said the oil was traced to the 72-inch village storm sewer outlet behind the Sonit Systems office, 130 Westfield Dr. Water samples were taken from the storm sewers.
The EPA will conduct "fingerprinting," analyzing the oil to determine its chemical makeup, and therefore, how it was used, Kolb said. It could be used motor oil, or oil used in an industrial process.
In the meantime, Brodbeck said the Archbold Fire Department continues to monitor the creek, keeping a boom in the water to block any further oil.
It is not unheard of for irresponsible home mechanics to service their own vehicles, then dump used motor oil into a storm sewer. Such an act is illegal.
Could that be the case here?
Brodbeck said the exact amount of oil removed from the creek has not been determined, "but it's definitely more than a person changing oil. It's a signifi cant amount."- David Pugh