Chemical Spill Reaches Rural Creek

Blue Rock, Ohio – A property owner reported an accident Tuesday on Blue Rock Church Road that involved a trailer dropping off into a ditch. 

Muskingum County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeff Jadwin said when the trailer carrying liquid fertilizer dropped into the ditch, the tank carrying the chemical cracked, allowing approximately 200 gallons to leak into the ditch approximately 100 yards from a tributary of Meigs Creek.

“The people that own the farm here called 9-1-1 because they started seeing dead fish on the surface of the water,” Jadwin said. “So there was an immediate response from the fire department, our office, Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources wildlife. So we were all here for quite a while dealing with this issue.”

The contamination appeared to be limited to approximately 600 yards downstream and Zemba Brothers has been tasked with handling the cleanup efforts.

“The fertilizer is putting ammonia in the water, which is higher than what is normal,” Jadwin said. “So we’re constantly testing that. We’re trying to inject air into the water to try to free up the ammonia. The other options are, which we’ve been doing some of, is to spray it out on the ground. But a veterinarian decided that wasn’t the best decision even though that’s what the EPA suggested.”

Jadwin explained that ammonia, which is heavier than water, has been settling in the deeper pools and that pumping the contaminated water onto surrounding fields could affect the livestock.

“We’ve got two farms that are affected right now that have livestock that normally drink out of this stream,” Jadwin said. “So, you know we’ve been in contact with the land owners and we have informed land owners to contact their vets to get an opinion from their vets.” 

Jadwin did not have an official number for the fish that were killed but estimated it to be around 1,000 and noted that ODNR had taken a count before they left the scene. 

Jadwin also mentioned that the company that was hauling the chemical will be charged for the spill as well as the resulting cleanup.

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