Oil spill costs Marion thousands in cleanup - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Oil spill costs Marion thousands in cleanup

Posted: Updated:

May 26, 2017

UPDATE: Watermark Ford Hyundai was not the source of the spill. The city of Marion would not disclose the name of the business associated with the spill. Brad Poole was interviewed by News 3 and he provided expert advice on the proper disposal of used motor oil. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

MARION -- An oil spill in a Marion creek taught folks an important environmental lesson. 

Marion City leaders say an employee at a local business caused a serious oil spill in the city's West End Creek. City workers found gallons of oil in the water and along its banks just north of the town's sewage treatment plant.

Marion leaders haven't said exactly who dumped the oil, which the city cleaned up at great cost. But it highlights how much things have changed when it comes to getting rid of potentially dangerous things like used oil.

Workers at Watermark Ford Hyundai say they take a lot of care when handling motor oil.

"It's got a mind of it's own. Once it gets to sloshing in the tank, it will get away from you so we don't move it," says general manager Brad Poole. 

Poole says the dealership used to hire an EPA-rated company to get rid of its used oil.

"Decided to keep the oil and burn the oil and it heats the facility, a lot of times back in the shops themselves," says Poole 
    
He says the government has very strict regulations when it comes to handling oil and a process in place if any spills.

Last week, workers in Marion found about 200 to 250 gallons of oil in West End Creek near the city's sewer plant.

"We wanted to contain it before it reached the Crab Orchard Refuge because obviously that would be disastrous," says city commissioner Angelo Hightower. 
    
City leaders spent over $6,000 on cleanup that Hightower says those responsible will have to pay back.

"If you're performing any type of operation that involves pumping oil, the lesson learned here is to make sure you keep and maintain constant eyes on whatever you're doing," says Hightower. 

It's a lesson Poole says his company learned a long time ago. He says the dealership has plans to deal with spills to keep it out of the environment. 

"It's going to get out to the edge of the property and run off, and if there's a stream close by, the stream's going to connect to a river and things like that so it has to be regulated and watched very, very closely," adds Poole.

Poole says the company has never had a runoff and says it would be catastrophic if they did, so they plan to keep that way.

Hightower calls the oil dump an accident and not intentional. He says they didn't get any reports of bodily harm but hopes people take more care in the future.

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