November 27, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
33°F
test

Diesel spill stinks up ponds, streams

AMHERST TWP. – More than 25 gallons of diesel fuel spilled Monday into the creeks and ponds surrounding North Ridge Road in Amherst Township.

STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE
A worker from Chemtron Corp. places a containment barrier for an oil spill in a pond at Ridge Hill Memorial Park in Amherst Township. There was no oil in the pond, but it was placed as a preventative measure.

The fuel spill originated around 10 a.m. on the property of Gargasz Inc., along the 44000 block of Middle Ridge Road in Amherst Township, when an employee knocked over a diesel tank, according to Tom Kelley, director of the county Emergency Management Agency.

The fuel spilled into a small stream on the south side of state Route 2 and continued northward until running into the streams and ponds of Ridge Hill Memorial Park and Penton`s Farm Market.

Jim Irwin, on-scene coordinator for the Ohio EPA, said the environmental impacts of the spill were minimal.

“The wind kept it contained,” he said. “There was no fish kill or water fowl problems. We should have it cleaned up by (today).”

While state law stipulates that chemical spills of 25 gallons or more, or those that enter waterways have to be reported within 30 minutes to local and state officials, no calls were made, Irwin said.

Instead, reports of a diesel fuel smell began to filter into the EPA`s hazardous waste hotline late Monday night, and the county`s EMA was contacted Tuesday when Penton`s Farm Market reported seeing the fuel in its pond to the Amherst Fire Department.

Gargasz will incur the several thousands of dollars in costs estimated to be involved with the clean up, and also is responsible for paying the response costs associated with the arrival of the Amherst Fire Department, the county`s EMA and the Ohio EPA.

The company also will receive a “notice of violation” letter from the EPA, reprimanding Gargasz Inc. for its failure to report the spill.

Edward Gargasz, owner of the company, said he knew nothing about the spill but has no problem paying for its cleanup. He added that the incident was an accident, and none of his employees would be punished for the infraction.

Andy Hill, co-owner of Penton`s Farm Market, said he, too, plans on taking the spill in stride.

“When you walk outside, you can still definitely smell it,” Hill said Tuesday. “Maybe tonight we`ll go out to our pond and see if we can make a little pond fire.”

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.