Ohio: Oil Explodes At Canton Petroleum Company

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Oil Explodes At Canton Petroleum Company Crews Are Investigating CANTON, Ohio, Posted 11:40 a.m. EDT September 10, 2000 -- There was an oil explosion Sunday morning at the Marathon Ashland Petroleum Company in Canton, Ohio.

It is unknown if there were any serious injuries, NewsChannel5 reports. An oil mist blew over about 40 blocks.

Crews are on their way to the scene. Stay tuned to NewsChannel5 and NewsNet5 for more information as it becomes available.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), September 10, 2000


Oil Spill Leaves Mess In Canton Storage Tank Erupts At Petroleum Company

CANTON, Ohio, Updated 6:06 p.m. EDT September 10, 2000 -- An oil spill into the air left a mess in Canton Sunday morning.

Oil from a Marathon Ashland Petroleum Company storage tank erupted, spewing a cloud of oil droplets into the air.

The wind carried the oil across the city and dumped it onto people's lawns, cars and homes.

One woman with whom NewsChannel5 spoke said that the oil did a mess to her car.

"You can see the spots of oil all over my windshield," Tiffany Carpenter said. "That's not going to come off. It's going to be stained."

A spokesperson for Marathon Ashland Petroleum said that no one was hurt in the oil spill.

The company is providing any help that they can to people who were affected by the mess.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), September 10, 2000.

Published Friday, September 15, 2000, in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Oil refinery under fire Neighbors say Sunday spill is only one of many problems at Marathon Ashland BY KYMBERLI HAGELBERG Beacon Journal staff writer

CANTON TWP.: Neighbors of the Marathon Ashland Petroleum Co. refinery are saying a Sunday oil spill is the worst example of an ongoing problem.

The day after a 1.7 million gallon refinery storage tank malfunction caused a thick, brown cloud of oil to rain down on area homes, David Lockshin walked out of his office at Fame Beverage to find a thick, white ash covering his delivery trucks.

Two days before the oil release, he noticed a disturbing smell at his office on Quimby Avenue Southwest just north of the refinery.

``I called the health department. They said it was harmless. So, why did it burn my nose?'' said Lockshin, 43. ``From one day to the next, it's the smell or it's the oil or everything is covered with that ash.''

The ash that coated cars at Fame Beverage on Monday was caused when a clay catalyst used to fire smokestacks at the refinery escaped into the atmosphere, officials said.

``It's harmless and not related to the Sunday incident,'' said Pat Anderson, human resources manager at the plant. ``We did receive calls about it from neighbors, and the EPA was present when it happened.''

Anderson had no information on how many times this summer neighbors complained of ash on cars and homes. He also did not know what caused the foul smell Lockshin noticed at his business Friday. ``I'm not aware of the release of any odor,'' Anderson said. ``We had no reports of it. If we had received complaints, we would have investigated.''

Cleaning contractors hired by Marathon Ashland yesterday worked their way though the streets of southwest Canton, spray washing houses, patios and lawn furniture in the neighborhoods hit by the cloud of oily vapor that traveled more than three miles from the refinery.

Sherry Love said she was told it would be a while before work crews reached her Wertz Avenue home.

``They told me they'd be here in three to four days,'' said Love, 31. ``In the mean time, we can't clean anything, and my daughter's swing set is getting ruined.''

Contacted yesterday, Marathon Ashland said eight cleaning crews and seven insurance adjusters were responding to residents who had reported problems to the company hot line at 800-892-3418. As of yesterday, the company had received 750 calls reporting damage from the spill.

``We told the washing crews to let the adjusters know if they came upon a situation where washing wasn't enough,'' Anderson said.

Ohio EPA Spokeswoman Heidi Griesmer said yesterday the preliminary cause of the Sunday leak has been attributed to a stress point that ruptured in the storage tank when pressurized hot oil and water came together.

Approximately 540,000 gallons of the pressurized oil escaped the original tank. Most of the substance was caught in a containment dike. Griesmer said it is not yet known how much of the pressurized oil was released into the atmosphere.

Six health claims have been reported since the spill. Most of the claims are related to breathing problems and allergies caused by the substance, which the EPA regards as an irritant of low to moderate toxicity.

``It's mostly just a nuisance because it's on people's things,'' Griesmer said, adding there has been no evidence of pollution to surface water and no damage to vegetation.

In 1998, the U.S. EPA lodged a consent decree against Ashland facilities in three states, including the Canton Township plant. The settlement in that decree included $32 million in civil penalties, corporatewide compliance and supplemental environmental projects. In a description of the 1996 investigation and subsequent settlement posted on the EPA Web site, the agency wrote that the facilities were targeted ``because each refinery was believed to have serious ongoing violations under multiple statutes. . . . ''

``Ashland had demonstrated a corporatewide policy of doing the minimum necessary to comply with environmental laws and then only after threat of litigation and long and difficult negotiation.''

The state EPA had no information yesterday on what impact, if any, the recent spill has on the settlement.

Anderson referred questions about the settlement to a Marathon media relations spokesman who could not be reached yesterday.

The settlement package now applies to Marathon Ashland Petroleum, which was formed as a joint venture in 1998.

Representatives from the Ohio Public Interest Research Group and the SierraClub yesterday said the groups would jointly study the spill at Marathon Ashland and contact the U.S. EPA on behalf of Stark County residents.

``We're looking into allegations that this Marathon Ashland has been a very bad neighbor,'' said Cleveland Sierra Club Clean Air Specialist Glenn Landers. ``This settlement with the U.S. EPA was supposed to resolve these problems.''


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), September 15, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ