Center for Lakes & Streams Responds to Lake Wawasee Chemical Spill

Release Date: 7/17/2015
Contact Information: Madisson Heinl, 574-372-5100, ext. 6446, heinlmm@grace.edu

Center for Lakes & Streams Responds to Lake Wawasee Chemical Spill

SYRACUSE, Ind. – The Turkey Creek Fire Department responded to a fuel oil spill at 8510 E. Hatchery Road in Syracuse, flowing into Lake Wawasee, around 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 12 according to local reports.

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.

The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts applicable research, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with other organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner. For more information or to support their efforts, visit lakes.grace.edu.

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Photo:The fuel oil spill into Lake Wawasee occurred on a channel that flows into Lake Wawasee.