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In January 1988 a 4-million gallon oil storage tank owned by Ashland Oil Company Inc split apart and collapsed at an Ashland oil storage facility located in Floreffe Pennsylvania near the Monongahela River The tank split while being filled to capacity for the first time after it had been dismantled and moved from an Ohio location and reassembled at the Floreffe facility The split released diesel oil over the tanks containment dikes across a parking lot on an adjacent property and into an uncapped storm drain that emptied directly into the river Within minutes the oil slick moved miles down river washing over two dam locks and dispersing throughout the width and depth of the river The oil was carried by the Monongahela River into the Ohio River temporarily contaminating drinking water sources for an estimated 1 million people in Pennsylvania West Virginia and Ohio contaminating river ecosystems killing thousands of wildlife damaging private property and adversely affecting businesses in the area Round-the-clock clean-up efforts were undertaken by Ashland and its contractors under the supervision of governmental coordinators located at the terminal in Floreffe After local authorities executed the initial on-scene response during the night EPA took control of the cleanup operations The Incident-Specific Regional Response Team RRT was formally activated two days after the incident The RRT consisted of many environment and health-related agencies from both the federal level as well as the states of Pennsylvania Ohio and West Virginia Contractors employed by Ashland performed the actual cleanup duties The contractors used booms vacuum trucks and other equipment to retrieve the spilled oil recovering about 20 percent of the oil that flowed into the river EPA in cooperation with other agencies monitored the cleanup process and river conditions Personnel set up a river monitoring system to track the spill as well as a sampling and analysis process to protect water supplies The Agency also performed follow-up activities such as compliance inspections and a spill
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