Water OK after S.R. 5 fuel spill in Ravenna Township

Cleanup of 7,774 gallons of fuel continues in Ravenna Twp.

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

Sunday's crash of a tanker truck carrying diesel fuel in Ravenna Township and ongoing efforts to clean up the resulting spill have not threatened drinking water supplies in the area, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency official said Wednesday.

The tanker crashed on a curve on S.R. 5 just east of the road's intersection with S.R. 59 at about 6 a.m. Sunday, spilling 7,774 gallons of off-road diesel fuel from its 8,000-gallon capacity tank. The crash closed S.R. 5 for seven hours as emergency crews worked to contain the spill, some of which seeped into a creek that feeds into the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir at West Branch State Park.

Ohio EPA spokesman Mike Settles said about 10 "areas of containment" have been put in place between the spill and the reservoir, which provides water for the state park's water system.

"We don't believe any of (the fuel) made it to the reservoir, and that public water system is not being used at this time of year, so that's good news" Settles said.

As of Wednesday, Settles said workers have recovered 2,800 gallons of fuel from the creek and land adjacent to S.R. 5 and Riddle Road.

Settles said Cortland-based Ainsley Oil Company has taken responsibility for clean-up efforts at the site, hiring Cleveland-based Clean Harbors to remove spilled fuel and saturated soil. The Ohio EPA has employees on scene to make sure the remediation of the site follows state guidelines.

"The idea is to capture this product as it works its way through the soils and into the stream, to contain it and suck it up with (vacuum) trucks, use absorbent pads and use other removal methods to get it out of the water," he said.

He said clean-up efforts could wrap up in a week, but they also could last several weeks.

"There (are) sections of this stream where it's really hard to access, so it's kind of making it a bit of a challenge to get in there and quickly clean it up," Settles said.

A spokesman for the Ravenna Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said the crash is under investigation and no criminal or traffic charges have been filed against the driver as of Wednesday.

The driver, whose name has not been released by authorities, was treated briefly for minor injuries suffered in the crash at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna Sunday.

Settles said the crash caused no apparent threat to residential well water supplies in the area. He said anyone who thinks the spill could affect their well water should contact the Portage County Health Department.

Portage County Health Commissioner DuWayne Porter said Wednesday that his office has not been contacted about the spill by any residents.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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