Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Protection Agency officials say 20,000 gallons of crude spilled from a damaged pipeline into a nature reserve in southwest Ohio.

Pipeline Leak Spotlights Threats to the Archaeoecology of the Ohio Valley

Geoffrey Sea
4/10/14

The “Hot” Dog

The Midvalley Pipeline travels right through the heart of this unique ancient ecological region, along both the Great Miami and Maumee valleys, only one segment of its nearly thousand-mile journey from Texas to Michigan, bringing oil to the gas-guzzler factories of Detroit. The devastating impact of potential oil spills on both the ancient earthen architecture and the birds those earthworks were intended to protect were not considered in the siting of the pipeline. “Remediation” of an oil spill, now underway at Oak Glen, is removal of the contaminated soil. But that means removal of the earthwork itself, or related archaeological layers, in an area densely utilized by prehistoric Indians over many thousands of years.

The Midvalley Pipeline travels right through the heart of this unique ancient ecological region, along both the Great Miami and Maumee valleys. (Graphic from BP)

And oil pipelines are not the only modern ecological insults to this region. Only one mile due west of the Colerain Earthwork is “the Fernald Preserve,” though what is “preserved” there are the remains of an old federal nuclear fuels processing plant that operated between 1951 and 1989. The Fernald plant became infamous for spewing millions of pounds of uranium dust into the air, and leaching uranium, thorium, and plutonium into the groundwater.

Aerial view of the Fernald Feed Materials Production Center. (Wikimedia Commons)

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page