Fuel spill at Wellsville business leaks into Ohio River

WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WYTV) -Crews are working to clean up and contain a spill of diesel fuel on Anchor Drilling Fluids’ property in Wellsville.

The company confirmed that 500 gallons of fuel spilled or leaked overnight at the property on Clark Avenue. Wellsville Fire Chief Barry Podwel says a fuel truck overflowed one of the company’s tanks. Some of the fuel went into the Ohio River.

Mike Settles, the spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said the fire department contacted the EPA about the spill around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

“Any kind of release of that quantity is certainly a concern,” Settles said. “We don’t want it to pose an issue, both to the wildlife and fish and the river, but also to any potential public water systems downstream.”

Anchor Drilling released a statement following the spill, saying they are working with local authorities to clean up the diesel fuel and that all of it has been contained:

Anchor Drilling Fluids USA, LLC confirmed that a release of diesel fuel occurred today at the Anchor facility in Wellsville, Ohio.

The release occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. on October 10, 2017. Anchor estimates that approximately 500 gallons of diesel fuel were released into the Ohio River. All of the diesel released has been contained by the deployment of primary and secondary booms. Anchor is working with emergency response crews to clean up the diesel. No injuries have been reported. Anchor has notified local, regional,and federal authorities of the event.

Anchor’s top priority is the safety of its employees and its community. Anchor has taken all necessary precautions to minimize risk to the public.

At present, the cause of the incident is under investigation. Anchor remains committed to engaging in safe, environmentally sound work practices at all of our sites.

The City of Toronto draws its water from the Ohio River but the city isn’t doing it currently due to scheduled maintenance, Settles said.

“There’s nothing really to worry about. Like I said, everything is contained, so there is nothing going down river, nothing going back up,” Podwel said.

Several agencies, including the EPA, Wellsville Fire Department, a HAZMAT crew, and the Coast Guard are all worked together to contain the spill. It could take a day or so to clean up the land.

In December of 2016, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources gave Anchor Drilling permission to temporarily store, treat, and process brine or other oilfield waste substances at the Wellsville facility.

In order for the facility to dispose of the brine, it had to follow regulations and receive approval. Any changes in operation at the facility also had to be reported. Anchor Drilling had to come up with a Radiological Response Action Plan and regularly perform radiation and contamination surveys, as well as maintain waste and material records.

State records show that the Anchor Drilling Fluids site in Wellsville recycled waste products without a permit in 2015.