Local emergency responders placed “absorbent socks” in a small waterway that runs under Dunlap Road in Hillsboro on Thursday afternoon where they said some type of suspected contaminant had entered the waterway, and Ohio EPA crew members arrived on the scene later in the day.
David Bushelman, director of the Highland County Emergency Management Agency, said early Thursday evening that officials were still not sure what was in the water, but that it was likely diesel fuel or home heating fuel.
He said around 6:30 p.m. that an EPA crew foreman was on the way to the scene and that they hoped to learn a little more once the foreman was there.
“We’ll try to clean up what is in the waterway tonight, then the EPA will come back tomorrow and get rid of the top soil and anything else that needs to go,” Bushelman said.
The site being investigated was just north of a property owned by Hartley Oil where a gas station was once located. Bushelman said Hartley Oil would likely have to foot the bill for the cleanup.
He said that while Hartley Oil no longer stores fuel as the site, it does have three trucks that operate out of the location.
Bushelman said local emergency responders placed seven absorbent socks in different locations in the waterway before the EPA arrived on the scene. He said the hope was to get the contaminant out of the waterway Thursday evening before more rain arrived.
The contamination was originally reported to the Ohio EPA by a citizen, Bushelman said, but local responders were the first on the scene, including the Highland County Soil and Water Conservation District, Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District and Highland County Emergency Management Agency.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected].