New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Couch has shed some light on an apparent oil leak at the Hannibal Hydro Plant on the evening of July 10.
In a July 14 news release, New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Couch confirmed that New Martinsville firefighters responded to an "initial report of a sheen of oil on the water in the area of the Dravo barges along the Ohio River at 7:10 p.m." on the evening of July 10. Couch stated that upon investigation, fire fighters found "an obvious sheen as well as what appeared to be an oily-type substance that had pooled in a few areas along the water-way on its east banks."
Couch stated that shortly after the NMVFD's response, they were notified by Wetzel County 911 that the Hannibal Hydro Plant had alerted them of a failure in one of its units, resulting in a release of turbine oil into the waterway, downstream of its facility.
Clean-up of the oil spill at the Hydro Plant continued into the morning of July 11. (Photo provided by Chuck Clegg)
"We deployed two sets of our own oil gathering booms and a third set that was brought in by OEM (Office of Emergency Management) personnel," Couch noted. "It seemed that we were ahead of the sheen on the river near old Lock #15 (on the south end of New Martinsville), so our first set of booms was deployed there, while the second and third set of booms were deployed by firefighters near the old ferry landing behind the courthouse on Main Street," he added.
"Down-stream intakes of river water were notified of the incident as well as the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and a host of other official agencies," Couch stated.
"We were in direct contact with the hydro plant during the incident and were initially advised that as much as 500 gallons of Phillips-Conaco #68 Turbine Oil, had been released." Couch stated. "The supply to the unit had been shut off and we were advised that there might still be small amounts of the materials in the housing of the unit that might release into the waterway."
Couch noted that the hydro plant notified two outside contractors to complete the clean-up of the materials. He stated that NMVFD cleared the scene at 11:30 p.m.