Share This Page

Fuel oil spills into Ohio River

| Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 5:15 p.m.

CINCINNATI — An estimated 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of fuel oil spilled into the Ohio River, leading authorities to shut off water intake valves for both the Ohio and Kentucky sides of the waterway to protect water supplies, and a 15-mile section of the river was closed to allow cleanup.

The spill from a Duke Energy power plant in New Richmond, about 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati, happened around 11:15 p.m. Monday, said Duke spokeswoman Sally Thelen. She said the spill at the W.C. Beckjord Station occurred during a routine transfer of fuel oil from a larger tank to smaller ones and was stopped within about 15 minutes.

Coast Guard Lt. Katherine Cameron says the spill is considered medium-sized, a designation that applies to inland leaks between 1,000 and 10,000 gallons of oil.

“We are working with officials from Duke Energy to determine the extent,” Cameron said.

The section was closed to all river traffic, including barges carrying commercial goods, when the spill was reported. Tim Smith, chief of investigations for the Coast Guard's Ohio Valley sector, said his agency hoped to reopen the section as soon as possible.

Local, state and environmental agencies also were at the scene Tuesday, and the Coast Guard said Charlotte-based Duke Energy has assumed responsibility for spill cleanup.

Ohio EPA spokeswoman Heidi Griesmer said the water quality alert system for the Ohio River was activated and all river drinking water intakes in Ohio were sealed off.

The Greater Cincinnati Water Works shut down its water intakes around 12:50 a.m. and monitoring of the water entering the system prior to shut-down showed no contamination, Griesmer said.

Just weeks ago, 400,000 people in Toledo were left without clean tap water when toxins produced by Lake Erie algae got into the city's water supply

Water quality scientists from the Greater Cincinnati Water Works continued monitoring the river in conjunction with the Northern Kentucky Water District. Rocky Merz, a spokesman for the city of Cincinnati, said no threats to drinking water have been found.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.