Monitoring is next step in Brandywine spill cleanup

by Judy Stringer

Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners will increase water quality monitoring along Brandywine Creek in response to the Jan. 27 tanker crash on state Route 8 in Macedonia that released diesel fuel into the nearby stream.

“We already have citizen scientists that work with our watershed coordinator and visit a set of sites along Brandywine, monitoring the water chemistry,” said Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners Executive Director Erica Matheny. “So, we plan to add a few more sites as we continue to evaluate the situation.”

According to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson Anthony Chenault, the semi-tanker truck was carrying 7,500 gallons of diesel when it careened over the side of the exit ramp to Interstate 271, landing on Route 8 and catching on fire. The driver died in the accident.

“Burning diesel fuel flowed into [Brandywine Creek] and continued burning for a short time,” Chenault wrote in an email.

Matheny said emergency containment efforts that day included the placement of several chemical-absorbing booms along the creek, including downstream locations near Brandywine Falls and where Brandywine flows into the Cuyahoga River. The creek’s headways are in Hudson, and it continues westward for 11 miles before discharging into the Cuyahoga in Sagamore Hills.

Response crews also excavated contaminated soil from the stream’s banks in the immediate area of the crash.

In his Jan. 30 email, Chenault estimated that “several roll-off boxes of impacted soil and 3,500 gallons of diesel-impacted water” had been removed.

Speaking with ScripType the next day, Matheny said the emergency response “has been wrapping up.”

“In the next week or so, we will be starting to determine if there is any sort of remediation needed and what that looks like,” she explained. “The good news is that we haven’t seen any fish kills or other noticeable immediate impact on wildlife, and we’ve had a lot of rain, which slows the settling of any contaminants along the riparian areas.” ∞