Officials say Leesville Lake ‘safe’ after heating oil spill

May 19, 2009

Leesville Lake is safe for recreational activities and should not suffer any negative environmental effects from a spill of 80 to 100 gallons of heating oil from a ruptured tank located at FFA Camp Muskingum near Carrollton.

Officials from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency who inspected the cleanup effort from the spill that occurred May 8 said they were pleased with the efforts of all who participated and contained the heating oil to a waterway that leads to the lake. Officials are confident that none of the spilled heating oil actually reached the lake.

The lake is safe for recreational activities such as boating and fishing, according to the officials who inspected the cleanup efforts and the lake along with Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) and FFA Camp Muskingum staff members.

Oil absorbing booms and pads will be left in place as an added preventive to collect any residual oil that may be flushed out with rains into the stream, said Scott Tritt, MWCD safety coordinator. The booms and pads will be monitored by camp staff and replaced as necessary over the next few weeks.

"The MWCD cannot thank enough all of those who took time out of their busy schedules to respond to this situation," said Tritt. "The rapid response and excellent organization of the response team should be commended, as they prevented the heating oil from reaching the lake."

Leesville Lake is one of the MWCD lakes constructed in the 1930s for flood reduction and water conservation in the Muskingum River Watershed. FFA Camp Muskingum is a privately operated youth and adult education camp located on MWCD property leased by the camp.

According to reports, the spill occurred when a heating oil tank containing about 120 gallons of home heating oil developed a hole in the bottom of the tank. Camp officials said they estimated that between 80 to 100 gallons of the heating oil leaked from the tank and reached the waterway to the lake.

However, the rapid response of officials from many local and state agencies diverted the path of the oil and allowed it to be absorbed. A small dam and siphon pond also were constructed to protect the lake. A North Canton firm also was contacted to clean and dispose of the oil.

Involved in the cleanup effort were the MWCD, FFA Camp Muskingum staff, Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Carroll County Emergency Management Agency, Carroll County Sheriff's Department and the Perrysville, Carrollton Village and Carroll County fire departments. Tom Mesler, chief of the Carrollton Village Fire Department, served as incident commander for the response effort.

Darrin Lautenschleger
Public Information Administrator
Toll-free: (877) 363-8500


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