Layer of protection: Mapping expected to lessen impact of spills

A new type of mapping by county officials adds another layer of preparation in case of a spill.

Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Anderson pinpointed specific dots as they connect to county waterways, which should  help relief efforts should there be a chemical, manure or fuel spill.

The software allows for the creation of a mapping layer specific to streams, creeks, ditches, rivers, feeders and even the canal in Auglaize County to offer emergency responders a better idea of where they need to be to prevent a spill from spreading further. City and village information also is accessible through the mapping program.

“It shows where all the interchanges are and where we would need to put booms and pads (used to clean and stop spills) and direct crews to prevent further spreading,” Anderson said.

More than 550 sites have been included on the map to date.

“This layer is done, but it is a living document,” Anderson said. “We plan to continue to update it.”

Next to be added to the map are catch basins and storm drains.

Anderson said the map addresses risk and hazard analysis of specific areas in the county where spills may occur and is done in conjunction with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“In the case of a large spill, it tells us where we need to be to stop it,” Anderson said. “Eventually, it will save money and help us save time, especially on spills that happen in the middle of the night or on weekends when the resources we usually go to aren’t open. All this information will be together in one place in my truck when we respond.”

Anderson said the idea to complete a cameo map came after talks with the EPA, which said with the amount of spills the county has had during the past two years, they were seeing a continuously increasing amount of contaminants entering the county’s waterways and then moving on into the Grand Lake watershed.

“With everything that’s going on there, it only made sense to do this,” Anderson said.