Village bills Sunoco $25,000
While most of the crews from Sunoco Logistics have left town, restoration efforts following January’s gas spill continue.
Joe McGinn, public affairs manager for Sunoco Logistics, said they closed their Wellington office in early April. However, he said the situation continues to be monitored.
“We transitioned from a daily operational phase to a long-term project remediation and management phase,” he said. “As such, our remediation efforts no longer require a permanent presence on site. However, our remediation and restoration contractors remain on site and are always available to the community.”
Remediation of the White Ditch was the biggest and most important task, according to McGinn. Soil in the ditch was contaminated following the nearly 117,000-gallon gas spill.
Members of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and United States EPA were on site during the beginning stages of the remediation efforts. After the EPA left the scene, Sunoco Logistics employees had to continue to report their work to the EPA.
McGinn said they have submitted a report of the work completed at the White Ditch to the EPA.
“Once it is approved by the (Ohio EPA), we will implement our long-term remediation plan until such time as we get (Ohio EPA) final approval the environmental clean-up of the release.”
The contaminated soil from White Ditch and the surrounding areas was stored in sealed containers. The containers were held at the Lorain County Fairgrounds until being moved to an EPA regulated landfill.
Rick Ternes, president of the fair board, said the containers were held at the fairgrounds for about six weeks.
According to Ternes, Sunoco Logistics employees and contractors continued to test the air quality at the fairgrounds. Ternes said all of the tests confirmed the air at the fairgrounds was safe.
During the winter months, Ternes said the fairgrounds are mostly used for off-season storage. However, he said the fair hall was used a few times.
“The fair hall was used, but there weren’t any containers with contaminated soil near the fair hall,” he said.
Ternes said damage to the roadways at the fairgrounds was caused by the containers and Sunoco vehicles. However, he said Sunoco employees have been repairing the damage.
“With the amount of money they’re putting in as far as damages, it’s beyond what the general standard maintenance would cost in-house for us to complete,” he said. “They have been real easy to work with and they want to make sure everything is properly taken care of.”
Charisse Nikel, fair secretary/office manager, said that at this time, they don’t plan on presenting Sunoco with a bill for use of their property.
“They have been more than generous fixing up the damage they have done,” she said.
Nikel also said there’s been talk about Sunoco making a donation to the fair, but she said that hasn’t been finalized.
“They have talked about doing a sponsorship with the fair, but we haven’t really addressed that issue yet,” she said. “I think we’re waiting until everything is done as far as repairing the grounds.”
While the fair board doesn’t plan on billing Sunoco, the village has already presented Sunoco with a bill.
Village administrator Steve Pyles said they presented Sunoco with a bill that was nearly $25,000.
“Sunoco told us that they have cut a check for the full amount of the billing,” he said.
According to Pyles, village employees put in just over 250 hours working on the gas spill.
Pyles said they billed Sunoco approximately $9,825 for personnel, $4,419 for equipment, and $10,488 for supplies.
As for what caused the spill, that information hasn’t been released. Pyles said the village hasn’t received a formal explanation as to what caused the spill.
Multiple calls requesting information as to what caused the spill were not returned.
While an explanation as to what caused the spill has yet to be released, McGinn said Sunoco will continue their work in Wellington.
“We remain committed to our promise of complete remediation and restoration of the Wellington community and will continue our efforts in Wellington until that promise is fulfilled,” he said. “We continue to be deeply thankful for the cooperation and patience of the community of Wellington, and for the support of all emergency response organizations, and local, state, and county government agencies.”