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Duke Energy spills fuel oil into Ohio River

About 5,000 gallons of fuel oil spilled into the Ohio River late Monday at Duke Energy’s W.C. Beckjord power plant 20 miles east of Cincinnati.

The Coast Guard closed a 15-mile stretch of the river, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday. Two water systems shut down intake valves in the river, although officials said reserves are large enough to supply water for some time.

Officials in Ohio said three vessels had been deployed to contain the oil in a cleanup that’s expected to take several days, the Enquirer said.

The spill happened as fuel was being transferred at about 11:15 p.m. Monday, Duke said. The release was halted in about 15 minutes.

Local, state and environmental agencies were alerted. Cleanup crews worked with those agencies through the night, said Chuck Whitlock, Duke’s president of Midwest commercial generation.

Duke operates coal-fired units at the Beckjord plant as well as combustion turbine units that burn fuel oil. Duke expects to retire the coal units by Jan. 1.

Henderson: 704-358-5051; Twitter: @bhender
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