Hydraulic fluid spill frustrates neighbors in North Linden

Fluid dumped on Medina Ave Geoff 2.jpg

J.D. Baker had plenty to say Thursday, but one look at his North Linden street said it all: a green, slimy mess that has covered the curbside since Monday morning.

"One of the city sanitation trucks blew a hydraulic line, and then just dumped all the hydraulic fluid all over the street," said Baker, who watched the entire episode from his front yard. Baker says a sanitation worker promised someone would come clean up the mess, but after several phone calls to the city and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Baker never heard back.

So, Baker called ABC 6 On Your Side.

"We're calling you to come look at this mess because somebody's got to be responsible to clean it up," Baker said.

Neighbors tried. Baker says he and another man spent $32.00 on kitty litter to try to soak up the spill, but it was no match for the 25 gallons of fluid all over the roadway. They could only watch helplessly as the melting snow and Thursday's rain washed much of the mess down city storm sewers, where it flows untreated into the Olentangy River and Alum Creek.

A spokesman for the city's Department of Public Services confirmed Thursday that the spill was caused by a broken down garbage truck, but characterized the spill as "minor." The city said a crew visited the scene on Monday and spread a drying solution on the fluid splatter. Later Monday and Tuesday, the crew made return visits and "didn't find anything."

The city reported the spill and its clean-up efforts to Ohio EPA. But after 6 On Your Side called, an EPA spokesman said the agency would launch its own investigation into the hydraulic fluid spill. The spokesman would not speculate on what the eventual penalty might be.

J.D. Baker was glad to hear Thursday night about the new investigation — though, after days of making his own phone calls, Baker wondered whether it would really happen.

"It just burns me," Baker said of the days-old chemical spill, "because if it was me or anyone else, (the city) would be crawling all over us."

After 6 On Your Side’s story aired, the Ohio EPA and City of Columbus Department of Water, Sewer and Power sent investigators to Medina Avenue on Thursday evening, to analyze the spill and clean up any remaining fluid.

The City of Columbus has two phone numbers which residents can call to report cases of water and sewer contamination: 614-645-7102 for general sewer issues, or 614-645-STREAM to report a possible contamination.

Stay with ABC6/FOX28 for updates on this developing story.

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