State EPA probes fertilizer spill in Preble Co.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is investigating a liquid nitrogen fertilizer spill that happened last week on a swine farm in Preble County.

A tank ruptured March 17 on the property in the 5200 block of Concord Road, southwest of Eaton, and released about 10,000 gallons of the nitrogen-laced liquid, according to the Ohio EPA.

The tank’s lined containment area captured about 7,000 gallons of the material, but the remaining 3,000 gallons drained out because the lining was ripped from flying debris, an EPA state official said.

The farmer quickly vacuumed up the material that remained in the containment area and excavated the surrounding soil to prevent the fertilizer from leaking into the groundwater, according to the official.

The fertilizer that escaped the containment area is believed to have caused a fish kill in a nearby creek. An EPA emergency response coordinator found only trace amounts of the fertilizer in the creek on Monday, according to the official.

The farmer’s well, which was about 40 feet from the spill and is used to provide water to his livestock, was tested for possible contamination, but it doesn’t appear to have been effected, according to the Ohio EPA.