CINCINNATI — The City of Cincinnati's departments are being asked to conserve the use of diesel fuel after regional disruption to the distribution of the resource.
According to City Manager Paula Boggs Muething, two refineries – Husky Marketing and Supply Company in Lima and Marathon Petroleum in Ironton – are undergoing preventive maintenance. That work is slowing or stopping production, limiting the supply of diesel and impacting suppliers who service governments in states including Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana.
"Certainly they perform preventative maintenance from time to time, but it’s pretty unprecedented for them to shut down at the same time," Boggs Muething said.
Right now, the city manager said Cincinnati has enough reserve fuel for three weeks – not accounting for any major flooding or snow events.
To ensure supplies last, Boggs Muething is asking city department to conserve diesel fuel by stopping all non-essential travel that would require diesel, consolidate crews when possible and discontinue functions related to parks and recreation that use diesel.
Functions impacting health and safety will be prioritized. Those services include Cincinnati Fire department vehicles, water and sewer repair and maintenance services, snow removal vehicles, garbage collection vehicles and machinery essential for road repairs.
“Diesel fuel is the life blood for the apparatus and the fire department,” said Matt Alter, President of Local 48. “All the ambulances, the fire trucks, rescue trucks, ladder trucks, they all use diesel fuel.”
Alter said the fire department has been doing what it can to conserve fuel.
“Limit trips when you can…combine trips if you’re out there,” he said.
While he does not believe residents should be concerned about disruption to fire service, Alter did note the importance of making sure vehicles have the proper resources, like diesel.
“If we don’t have fuel in our trucks, we can’t answer 911 calls, we can’t respond to fires,” Alter said. “When it’s cold outside, the lifesaving medications in our ambulances have to be kept warm, so ambulances have to be kept on, so the heat stays on in the ambulances.”
All city departments were required to submit a report to the city manager by end of day Tuesday outlining functions that would require diesel through the end of the year. Boggs Muething said the fuel supply should return to normal by the start of the new year.
“The preventative maintenance is only for 30 days, and that should really end the week after Thanksgiving," Boggs Muething said. "So supplies should start ramping up again."