By TEDDYE SNELL
A hydraulic fluid spill at Northeastern State University Wednesday provoked a swift response from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Tahlequah Fire Department and an emergency response unit.
According to university officials, an employee of KONE Elevator accidentally spilled the fluid from an elevator shaft sump pump in the University Center basement, and the liquid then spilled into the stormwater drain.
The drain flows into the Town Branch Creek, a tributary of the Illinois River, which is federally designated protected stream.
Tahlequah Fire Department reported receiving the call at 10:05 Wednesday morning.
NSU officials said the spill was quickly detected and contained, and appropriate entities were immediately notified. The response crews were on scene for cleanup and removal in an area 400 yards from the southeast edge of campus to the northeast portion of Town Branch.
As of Wednesday evening, there were no reports of contamination to the common water supply.
“The university continues to work with local authorities to minimize exposure to the landscape and potential ecological impact with quick response and action,” said NSU Vice President for Operations Tim Foutch. “We have been very pleased with the rapid, professional assistance shown us with assessment and clean-up efforts.