The Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency are coordinating the clean-up of a spill of up to 5,000 gallons of rust proofing material from the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, some of which discharged into Lake Erie.
Ford Motor Company and the Avon Lake Police Department notified the Ohio EPA about the spill on Sunday. The material was mistakenly released from a 50,000 gallon storage tank at the Ohio Assembly Plant on Miller Road. The e-coat make its way through the storm sewer, some of which then went into Lake Erie from the outfall.
The EPA says the material is gray and shiny and appears to be contained to a very small area of the lake near Miller Road Park. There are no known impacts to fish or wildlife, and investigators don't foresee any concern with drinking water.
Three environmental cleanup crews are in place vacuuming up product and water from the storm sewer. One vacuum truck is at the outfall, another is closer to the plant and a third is in between. So far, about 60,000 gallons of product and storm water have been collected and will go to Chemtron Corporation for proper disposal.
In a statement to WKYC Channel 3's Carly Flynn Morgan, the Ford Motor Company has released the following:
We have an emergency response team on site to address an accidental release of a chemical used in the paint process into a nearby storm sewer leading to Lake Erie. We have identified and eliminated the source of the leak and do not expect additional e-coat to enter the storm sewer. We are working with authorities to contain it as quickly as possible. We are absolutely committed to the health and safety of our community and ensuring our properties meet environmental requirements.
The EPA says it could take several days or more to complete the clean-up.