Center for Lakes & Streams Receives Lake Wawasee Chemical Spill Results

Release Date: 8/12/2015
Contact Information: Madisson Heinl, 574-372-5100, ext. 6446, heinlmm@grace.edu

Center for Lakes & Streams Receives Lake Wawasee Chemical Spill Results

Syracuse, Ind. – The Turkey Creek Fire Department responded to a fuel oil spill at 8510 E. Hatchery Road in Syracuse, flowing into Lake Wawasee, July 12.

Center for Lakes & Streams, Kosciusko County Emergency Management, Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Department of Environmental Management visited the spill site to assess the situation.

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 could not 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 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.

Sample analysis revealed no detectable levels of the chemicals tested for in Lake Wawasee as a result of the spill. Therefore, test results revealed no evidence of chemicals entering the greater Lake Wawasee. Furthermore, no environmental effects of the spill have been reported in the lake to date.

The Center for Lakes & Streams is currently working with Lake Wawasee residents on the affected channel to conduct well water testing for chemicals as a result of the July fuel oil spill.

The Center for Lakes & Streams has responded to five spills in Kosciusko County lakes in 2015 alone, including the Lake Wawasee chemical spill this July. A second spill on Lake Wawasee was also reported on August 4 near the intersection of Bowser Road and Harkless Drive. The cause of the spill was likely cooking oil entering the channel through a storm drain.

Of the spills reported in 2015, three spills occured on Winona Lake, and two spills occured on Lake Wawasee.

“The number of chemical spills in our lakes so far this year demonstrate that we need to focus not only on ongoing threats to our lakes such as nutrients growing weeds and algae but also on immediate concerns like these spills,” according to Dr. Nate Bosch who directs the center.

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: Site of the July 12 chemical spill into Lake Wawasee on E. Hatchery Road. Absorbent pads on the channel banks and absorbent booms in the channel were deployed at the spill site.