Oil cleanup continues after 200,000 gallon spill at Granite City plant

Source:, February 6, 2019
By: Denise Hollinshed

Cleanup continued Wednesday here after 200,000 gallons of used oil spilled from a company’s storage tanks, a portion of it contaminating nearby ground and the city sewer system, the Illinois Environment Protection Agency said.

The spill prompted the agency to seek an order banning storage of oil at the Future Environmental plant at 2101 Adams Street.
The agency said 500 to 1,000 gallons of the spilled oil escaped the plant’s secondary containment barrier. The oil was released from above-ground tanks at the facility, the Illinois EPA said. The spill was noticed when oil was spotted at a wastewater treatment plant.
“Absorbent booms were placed in the sewers and there is no impact to operations at the (treatment plant),” the agency said in a statement.
Some of the oil also reached a dirt-floor warehouse on a neighboring property, the agency said. The agency didn’t say what caused the spill or if it posed any health risks.

The agency’s statement said enforcement action has been referred to the Illinois attorney general’s office because of potential violations of state environmental laws.
The Illinois EPA wants owner GFL Environmental barred from storing used oil at the plant “due to the poor condition of the tanks and containment system.”
“The agency believes an injunctive order is necessary to prevent site conditions from worsening and ensure the spill is managed in a proper manner,” the agency’s statement said.
No one from the company could immediately be reached for comment this week. According to its website, Future Environmental is a recycling business and “one of the Midwest’s largest used oil collection companies.”
Excavation of contaminated soil at the site could take weeks.
At the Granite City Council meeting Tuesday night, Jeff Hamilton, superintendent of the wastewater treatment plant, said the oil spill happened about three miles from the facility. He blamed a ruptured loading line. He said 135,000 gallons of the spilled oil were accounted for and 65,000 gallons were lost.
City officials said that because the spill was mostly contained and isolated to a small area of town and because the Illinois EPA was handling the situation, there was no need for the city to send out alerts.
Hamilton said at the meeting that if residents noticed any smell potentially related to the spill they should contact city hall.
He expects no problems will be discovered because the ruptured line was capped and water coming into the treatment plant and going out to the Mississippi River has been tested and no problems found. He said readings would be taken every two hours as needed.
Hamilton added that the forecast of limited rain over the next two days would help lessen the chance of any oil’s being washed into drains.
Post-Dispatch correspondent Jared Hennings contributed to this report.

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