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Local Agencies Respond To Environmental Health Issues Caused By Heavy Rains

Bowling Green, OH – Heavy rains from last weekend caused numerous reports of damage. One such report has agencies working to mitigate health risks. An underground fuel oil tank was overtaken by water resulting in fuel leaking onto the ground in a residential neighborhood in Lake Township.

The Wood County Health District, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) Northwest District Office, Wood County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) have worked together to address the potential environmental and public health hazards. Officials have been in contact with the property’s owner, who did not know the fuel tank was there.

The Health District and ODH have been looking into concerns of nearby wells being affected by the fuel oil. Together the two agencies examined the location of the spill, nearby wells and the direction of ground water flow to identify wells to sample. A small amount of fuel oil does appear to have made it off the property onto the neighboring properties directly on each side of it. They have identified 12 wells to sample to determine if the fuel made it into them. The Ohio Department of Health has offered to cover the cost of the sampling.

Health District sanitarians went door-to-door Wednesday and Thursday to make sure residents in the area knew about the incident. They gave informational packets to residents and offered them the option to have their wells tested. “If they have concerns, they should avoid drinking the water until the test results come back,” said Lana Glore, Assistant Director of Environmental Health. “We do not expect to find fuel oil in the wells we are sampling, but we want to be extra cautious,” Brad Espen, Director of Environmental Health.

Health Commissioner Ben Batey states, “We are closely monitoring the situation and being proactive to ensure public health concerns are addressed.”

The well on the property has been cleaned by a registered water contractor and it did not appear to have fuel oil in it. The testing results have not come back yet. The fuel tank was pumped of remaining oil and water and will be filled with either grout slurry or cement.

The Ohio EPA oversees the clean-up of chemical spills, deploying measures to prevent the spread of the spill and providing guidance on proper corrective actions.

Wood County Emergency Management Agency coordinates response efforts among the various agencies and ensures the Ohio EMA is aware of local situations and responses.

A conference call was held this morning with ODH, Wood County EMA and Wood County Health District to discuss the recent updates and finalize plans for sampling.


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