July 20, 2012

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd

(Media Cell for press inquiries only: 502-744-5639)



Oil Spill at Louisville Zoo Contained


At 7 a.m. this morning Zoo Staff discovered an oil trail from the used oil containment unit to the sewer drain near the maintenance garage. Action was immediately taken to abate anymore source oil from entering the drain and proper authorities were called including Louisville Fire, Louisville Hazardous Materials units, MSD and the Louisville Department of Public Health & Wellness. A clean up contractor, Safety Kleen, was also called in. It was determined by authorities that the non-flammable oil had traveled to the Beargrass Creek stream that is in the back of the Zoo’s property. A slight sheen was noticed on the water and dikes were put in place immediately to filter and sift the oil. Last night’s rain immensely dissipated the oil that entered the stream. Louisville Department of Public Health & Wellness Environmental Health Specialist Andrew Rowe indicated that no fish kill is expected nor is any surface impact to water birds and other aquatic life. The amount of oil that entered the stream is unknown. The maximum discharge quantity would be 55 gallons, but the exact amount is also unknown at this time.

The Zoo engaged Safety-Kleen, an environmental services contractor, to clean the spill which is currently underway. Safety Kleen is flushing the drains and skimming the oil off the surface of the creek.

It is common practice to store oil, both new and used, onsite for maintaining horticulture equipment and other small vehicles. A secondary containment unit for the used oil was in place and the oil overflowed from that unit.

The Zoo’s containment practices are being reviewed and updated. The current procedures have been suspended for immediate review to guarantee no future spills, and the area will be closely monitored.

Because bettering the bond between people and our planet is part of our mission, we wanted to assure that appropriate and swift action has been taken to minimize any potential environmental impact.

Authorities from Louisville Department of Public Health & Wellness, MSD and Safety Kleen will be onsite in the coming days to further evaluate the clean up measures.

# # #

The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.