Salon: Jet fuel spills from Amazon aircraft at CVG

UC environmental engineer explains risks to groundwater from spills

Salon talked to an environmental engineering professor at the University of Cincinnati about a fuel spill in March at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Nearly 2,000 gallons of jet fuel spilledĀ  onto the jeftfield at Amazon's hub.

UC assistant professor Patrick Ray said fuel spills can pose a potential risk to public health if they get into sources of drinking water.

"Typically, spills of this sort at airports or manufacturing facilities seep into the ground, contaminating local soil and aquifers," Ray told Salon. "That type of contamination can be very difficult to remediate and can create water quality problems for years for local communities relying on well water."

Both Amazon and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said the spill was contained and did not reach groundwater. Amazon reported the spill to the Environmental Protection Agency's National Response Center, which provided oversight for the cleanup, Salon said.

Ray teaches environmental engineering in UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science. He recently received a United Nations grant to study climate change impacts in Kruger National Park in South Africa.

He is an expert in evaluating how water projects will stand up to flooding, drought and climate change. He and his students help governments and banks around the world assess the risk of climate change for massive projects such as hydroelectric dams.

Read the Salon story.

Featured image at top: Baldwin Hall on UC's Uptown campus. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand