Oil slick likely to remain a mystery

Oily substance investigated on Great Miami River in Dayton. (WDTN Photo)
Oily substance investigated on Great Miami River in Dayton. (WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Officials say it is unknown what caused an oil slick at the Great Miami and Mad Rivers.

Hazmat crews were called to the river near Monument Avenue Monday night to investigate an oily sheen on the water.

Fire crews put out booms to try to absorb the spill and the Environmental Protection Agency was called, but before the investigation into the oil sheen could start a heavy rainfall cut things short.

“The rain then comes through the storm sewer system and washes away the product in our storm sewer out to the river,” says Dayton Environmental Manager Michele Simmons.

After the rain, the sheen was gone but so was any way to determine who was behind it.

“If we see another load come through then we can trace it back up the storm sewer line but to trace the source of that oil sheen is highly unlikely,” Simmons says.

We wanted to know if the spill presents any danger to the area’s water supply.

“We get our drinking water from groundwater which is not affected in anyway by our river water,” Simmons says.

We called the Ohio EPA. A spokesperson says the spill isn’t something to be alarmed about.

Crews checked the river again Tuesday but didn’t see any signs of the sheen.

“If we see anything other than clean rain water flowing through that storm sewer we go out with screening equipment,” Simmons says.

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