No Charges in Oil Leak

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Between 400 and 500 gallons of light oil was released into the Mahoning River on Friday, but officials said the company responsible for the spill worked with cleanup crews throughout the weekend to help contain it.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Mike Settles said the oil spilled into the river from two different places on Arcellor Mittal’s property near the Warren Township-Niles border.

Settles said the leaks appear to be accidental and the company worked closely with the EPA and the county’s Emergency Management Agency to help stop the leaks while the oil was soaked up.

No charges will be filed against Arcellor Mittal, Settles said.

An ArcerlorMittal spokesperson said they were notified of the spill on Friday and the company immediately conducted their own inspection, finding the leak.

“ArcelorMittal Warren takes this situation very seriously and has been working cooperatively with the agencies involved to address the situation,” a statement from the company said.

Settles said investigators found two leaks on the property. One was an oil-water separator in a nearby wastewater pond. The pond overflowed Friday because of the rain, which eventually ran into the river.

The other source was a malfunctioning oil polishing system on the property that helps maintain equipment. The system leaked oil into the river also, Settles said.

“Anytime discharge of oil or gas or any type of chemical to the Mahoning River it’s going to be a concern for us,” Settles said. “In this case, we benefited from the locals who really helped us out to contain this once it was discovered and then go after the source.”

The leaks reached about 4.5 miles downstream, Settles said. He said the light oil will likely dissipate quickly as it progresses downstream. Settles said they are unaware of any impact on wildlife.

Settles said EPA inspectors are watching for oil pockets along the river’s banks, and will clean up anything they find.

“Both local officials and the company have been very cooperative and have done everything we asked them to do,” Settles said. “We wouldn’t envision any sort of action beyond that.”

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