Environment: Nightmare on The Monongahela

A winter oil spill creates havoc from Pittsburgh to Wheeling

The loading operation should have been routine: an enormous storage tank at Ashland Oil's Floreffe, Pa., facility was slowly filling with No. 2 diesel fuel, and everything seemed to be going according to plan. True, the 40-year- old container was being filled for the first time since having been cut up, moved from Cleveland and reconstructed on the site near the Monongahela River. True, the company did not have the required permit from Allegheny County. And true, Ashland Oil had forgone the standard safety practice of testing the tank with a full load of water. But the vessel had passed less...

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