WHITE HAVEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There’s a creek concern after an oil spill in Luzerne County. Eyewitness News reported about the leak last Thursday. However, some are unsettled about its environmental impact before the DEP took action.
It’s unclear how long the oil was leaking before it was addressed but some people are worried about how much damage was done before the cleanup efforts began.
“As soon as we found out we deployed our emergency response team. They went out and started an initial response, and then Datom products were called in after that,” explained Collen Connolly, DEP regional spokesperson.
A White Haven man told Eyewitness News he called the DEP around 6 Wednesday evening to report oil leaking into Linesville Creek.
He says he noticed it while walking his dog along the creek which the oil had turned a reddish color. He says fish looked like they were dying, and some crawfish were already dead.
He was told a DEP official was on the way to check it out that night. By all accounts, it seems the leak was addressed sometime Thursday.
That’s when Connolly says their officials traced the leak back to a 20,000-gallon above-ground oil tank at the nearby White Haven center. A state-owned facility for residents with intellectual and physical challenges, run by the dept of human services.
“Right now it appears that a gasket on a filter, which filters out impurities at the tank or air, that failed” stated Connolly.
Connolly says they’re investigating why the filter failed. Thursday crews with Datom Enterprise, the contractor working to contain the leak, were seen putting absorbant pads in the creek to soak up the oil and using a vacuum.
By Monday, Connoly says Datom cleaned up most of the oil. 2,000 to 2,500 gallons of oil leaked from the tank.
It’s unclear how much of that got into Linesville Creek, which feeds into the Lehigh River. Connolly says they’re investigating how large of an impact it had on the creek. The DEP says Monday there were no oil impacts on the river.
“The DEP and the department of human services will work together to continue to monitor the creek,” said Connolly.
White Haven borough officials tell me they found out about the leak from our 6 pm report Thursday evening. The borough then reached out to the dep and has been in contact with them since.
I also checked with rafting companies along with the Lehigh River downstream from the leak, they did not notice any impacts but said the dam release this weekend may have helped flush out any pollutants.