SYRACUSE — The demolition of a condemned home resulted in Turkey Creek Fire Department being notified of a report of an oil spill on Bayshore Channel of Lake Wawasee, Sunday, July 12.
Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, which is very concerned about the spill, responded this week with inspections by board members both on the water and land. WACF also contacted Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Department of Emergency Management officials for more information.
WACF reports the DNR sent an officer to inspect the area primarily for any injury to wildlife. Lt. John Karris, District 1, indicated “no wildlife appeared to be impacted and the contrator began clean-up efforts immediately.”
Richard Hackel from IDEM also provided a response to Heather Harwood, WACF executive director. “The responsible party is doing everything that can be expected at this time. They have removed the source of the petroleum, are removing contaminated soils from the site, and are maintaining absorbents on the channel. Currently there is no more sheen in the channel, and the absorbents should collect any more that seeps in. Since he is not using established spill response contractors I am checking his work frequently.”
Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Center for Lakes & Streams has also responded to the chemical spill. Late today they issued the following release:
“Center for Lakes & Streams, Kosciusko County Emergency Management, Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Department of Environmental Management officials have visited the spill site to assess the situation. According to IDEM, a 250-gallon underground fuel oil tank was punctured during the demolition of a condemned building, causing fuel oil to leak into a channel flowing into the lake.
“As much as 200-250 gallons of fuel oil may have spilled into the lake; however, due to the nature of the spill, the exact quantity of fuel that spilled into Lake Wawasee cannot be confirmed. Absorbent pads on the channel banks and absorbent booms in the channel were deployed at the spill site to help contain the spill.
“Staff from Grace College’s Center for Lakes & Streams responded to the spill on Monday to assess the incident and collect water samples at the spill site. Samples were also taken at the mouth of the channel to determine if the spill impacted the broader lake. Environmental effects of the spill have not yet been reported. Fuel oil continues to remain on the surface of the channel water. A majority of the fuel oil is thought to have soaked into the channel’s surrounding soil.
“The Center for Lakes & Streams will continue to collect samples from Lake Wawasee over the coming weeks to monitor any environmental impacts. The Turkey Creek Fire Department has been responsible for spill containment; the property owners are responsible for further spill clean-up under the supervision of IDEM.
“In February, the Center for Lakes & Streams responded to the Warsaw Chemical Co., Inc. spill into Winona Lake. The center collected samples to assess the environmental impacts of the spill on Winona Lake. While no harmful environmental impacts have yet been reported on Winona Lake, the Lake Wawasee spill highlights the importance of continuing to minimize risks to Kosciusko County’s lakes, both on an organizational and a private level.
“The Center for Lakes & Streams continues to work with and educate local organizations, businesses, property owners, and other community members about minimizing risks to prevent similar events from affecting local waterbodies in the future.”
WACF will continue to monitor the progress of the clean-up along with the Center for Lakes & Streams continuing to monitor the water quality of the lake.