Cleanup efforts continuing at site of diesel spill

Cleanup efforts continuing at site of diesel spill

Source: http://www.morningjournalnews.com, December 20, 2018
By: Katie White

Cleanup efforts are ongoing at the site where a few thousand gallons of diesel fuel spilled into Bull Creek on Tuesday along state Route 46 when a Cuyahoga Landmark Inc. tractor trailer overturned.

New Waterford Fire Chief Greg VanPelt said Wednesday evening that Environmental Management Specialists Inc. were still at the scene removing contaminated soil.

The company began working Tuesday evening after receiving instructions from the Environmental Protection Agency and kept a representative on site throughout the night.

“The EPA gave explicit instructions on what to monitor for and showed them where to establish sweeps and what to watch for,” VanPelt said.

The EPA also assisted in cleanup efforts by setting up sweeps or booms across the creek to keep the fuel from getting to the Ohio River.

He added that Cuyahoga Landmark Inc. of Strongsville was able to pump the remaining fuel from the overturned semi that was hauling about 9,000 gallons of diesel fuel when it crashed into the creek on Tuesday around 12:35 p.m.

The highway patrol identified the driver on Wednesday as Randall Mihalek Jr., 37, of Strongsville. He was taken to the St. Elizabeth Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after the crash and has since been released, the patrol said.

Patrol Sgt. Adam Shonk said estimates are that 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the semi into the creek.

Shonk said citations are pending results of the completion of the investigation, which remains open.

VanPelt said this is the first time in his 29-year tenure with the New Waterford Fire Department that it has handled a spill of that magnitude. He has served as chief the last six years.

“This is the biggest spill I have ever had to deal with,” he said. “Fortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot that got into the water but what got into the ground can leak into the soil and then get into the water.”

Crews had the spill contained and cleared the scene at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday evening, he added.

He and East Palestine Fire Chief Josh Brown are looking into what can be done about some of the firefighters’ turnout gear that got contaminated by the fuel.

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