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Spills cost taxpayers

Andy Ouriel • Jan 13, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Snow is hardly the only hazard causing havoc on Erie County’s roadways.

Local first responders dealt with a bevy of oil, fuel, paint, and even milk spills in 2013, according to local data the Register obtained through a public records request.

Area taxpayers fronted about $1,300 to remedy eight disastrous situations.

At times, companies responsible for various spills picked up the tab. At-fault or instigating parties responsible for a spill must pay all cleanup costs, at times sparing county taxpayers any further financial burden.

County officials considered all eight situations an immediate threat to public safety, requiring swift and thorough cleanup efforts.

“It’s important that the hazmat team and the Erie County Emergency Management Agency respond to the spills and to make sure they are cleaned up properly to avoid future environmental impacts,” agency director Tim Jonovich said.

The hazmat team is composed of area firefighters who receive special training to deal with spills, leaks or other materials flowing out of vehicles or some other equipment.    

Among the more notable emergencies last year: a milk tanker that overturned on Ohio 2 near Rye Beach Road.

In mid-December, local responders faced a frothy mess as they worked for more than 30 minutes to free a Michigan man driving the truck. A portion of the highway was closed for four hours after the rig went off the highway, overturned and slid on its side for almost a quarter of a mile through the grass median before stopping.

With temperatures below freezing, the grass median quickly became a slushy soup of water, diesel and milk, which firefighters sloshed in for about 40 minutes before they could finally free the driver.

The costs of cleaning up

Date                Location                                  Incident                         Cost

March 8          Ohio 60 and River Road         Vermilion Diesel spill   $282

March 20        Ohio Turnpike                         Diesel fuel spill            Private cost  

March 21        Ohio Turnpike                         Paint spill                     Private cost

March 26        Ohio 2 near Barnes Road      Vermilion Fuel spill       $470

June 10          West River Road, Vermilion   Transformer spill          $188

Aug. 7             11500 block U.S. 250, Milan,  Paint spill                     Private cost

Nov. 26           Delematre Road, Monroeville, Oil spill                        Private cost

Dec. 10           Ohio 2 near Rye Beach Road, Huron Milk tanker spill $395

Total $1,335

Note: Private cost means company paid for clean up.

Source: Erie County Emergency Management Agency

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