Kentucky Crude Oil Spill may reach river, contaminate drinking water : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Published Friday, February 4, 2000, in the Herald-Leader


Emergency cleanup efforts at the site of last week's Clark County oil spill will probably end by early next week, although long-term cleanup could take years, officials said yesterday.

Despite the effort of as many as 250 workers, officials say there's no way to tell soon whether some of the oil will find its way into the Kentucky River, the main source of drinking water for Lexington and other Central Kentucky communities.

Up to 900,000 gallons of crude oil may have spilled, and cleanup crews have been racing to get as much of it out of the soil and water before the weather warms up and makes recovery efforts all but impossible, said Maleva Chamberlain, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Division of Water.

``When the soil warms up, the oil can travel more easily and deeply,'' Chamberlain said. ``We're concerned about it seeping down into the groundwater, possibly contaminating other wells.''

Another complication is that the spill lies on top of fractured bedrock, where crevices and channels are difficult to clean and might serve as a conduit to groundwater and, eventually, the Kentucky River.

There is still no word on what caused the 24-inch pipeline to burst Jan. 27 under the fifth hole of the Southwind Golf Course near Winchester.

Officials from Marathon Ashland Petroleum, which operates the pipeline, have estimated that between 500,000 and 900,000 gallons of crude escaped before the line was shut down. The line was repaired and went back into service Saturday night.

Marathon Ashland said in a written statement that crews had removed more than 900,000 gallons of water-oil mix. There is no quick way to find out how much of that mixture is oil.

Crews also have removed 1,775 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the site, the company said. It was unclear yesterday whether the soil would be cleaned and returned or dumped into a landfill.

Kentucky water officials said at least two springs have been contaminated, and more than a dozen wells were scheduled to be tested by the end of the day yesterday.

``There's only one way to put this: It's a mess,'' Chamberlain said. ``As far as spills go in Kentucky, this is up there with the worst ones.''

Officials say crude may reach Ky. River

Long-term cleanup of oil spill could take years, officials say


-- Carl Jenkins (, February 05, 2000


This company should have to pay for every well they contaminate, and all the other damage to the environment. I can't believe people have so little interest in articles like these. The future of our children, the wildlife and our food and water supply is at stake.

-- gilda (, February 05, 2000.

They do pay. And pay.

You don't think the state staff does all that work for free, do you? They directly bill the oil co. And they will dig out all that bedrock, and do whatever else it takes to grind out every bit of oil.

Want to know what it costs to get a couple of old gasoline storage tanks out of the ground and disposed of? If they haven't leaked AT ALL?


Get hit with a bill like that, when you thought you were buying an old lot with a concrete pad on it, and lets see how you like it! They have taken to checking the property each time it changes hands, and smack you with the cleanup costs as the new owner. YOU don't get any choice in the matter whatsoever. The state crew does the work (a backhoe digs a damn hole, and loads the tanks on a truck, then they do a soil test), and they send you this huge bill.

-- toomanytrollshere (, February 05, 2000.

This is bad, but just think of all the farmers out there who dump chemicals and pesticides on their crops. That can seep into well water just as easily. Who are you going to sue if your well is poisoned this way, the farmer who is dumb enough to do it, or the people who allow it to be legal. If where I live is as bad as anywhere else, andI live in a mostly farming community, then I'm very afraid for our future on this planet.

-- J (noone@the.door), February 05, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ