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Crews in Trumbull County will be back on Saturday cleaning up an oil spill on the Mahoning River in Weathersfield.
Crews spent eight hours working on Friday, but they weren’t able to get the entire mess cleaned up by nightfall.
“It’s going to be a while,” said Trumbull County HazMat chief Jason DeLuca. “The current’s very strong and as you can see, it’s pushing the dam very far and in some cases it’s actually pushing the product underneath the dam, so we’re running into some problems with that.”
Someone on the Niles bike path noticed an odd sheen on the river about 1:30 p.m. Friday and called Niles police. They followed the sheen into Weathersfield, which got fire crews from Weathersfield involved.
“They launched a boat, started upstream to find where the product was coming from,” said Weathersfield Fire Chief Randy Pugh.
They followed the sheen to property believed to be owned by Arcelor Mittal in Warren Township. Officials said an oil-water separator there failed and had been overflowing for several hours, spilling oil into a creek that runs into the Mahoning River.
Crews were not able to guess how many gallons of oil could have spilled into the Mahoning. They were more concerned with getting various booms set up to stop the spill from spreading.
“There was so much of it that unfortunately, we couldn’t and we made a stand initially as close to it as we could and then where we had the best access. We’ve dealt with instances like this in smaller waterways. This is the largest that I’ve been involved with,” DeLuca said.
A private contractor will be back Saturday, laying more booms in the river, with some of those downstream in Mahoning County. Some of the oil also still needs to be vacuumed out.
It’s still unclear whether the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will fine the company.