DEP: Excavation near formerly used oil tank, heavy rainfall may have lead to leak into Swiftwater Creek

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PARADISE TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The PA Department of Environmental Protection is releasing more information about an oil leak into a creek in the Poconos.

A spokesperson for the DEP says the leak into Swiftwater Creek was caused during excavation work on a waterline at Swiftwater Elementary. The excavation was taking place near a heating oil tank, tank 004, that the Pocono Mountain School District says has not been used since approximately 2004, but had oil inside of it.

Heating oil was discovered in a trench in the area of tank 004. The DEP says the tank had an active high water alarm, high product alarm, high water warning, high liquid alarm and fuel alarm.

When the area experienced heavy rainfall earlier this week, water overflowed and entered the tank, causing the oil to displace out, onto the ground and into Swiftwater Creek, the DEP says.

It is still undetermined how much oil entered the creek.

Contractors have been hired by the school district to do a site characterization and determine the extent of contamination, how widespread it is and what remediation work needs to be completed.

The DEP says the odor of petroleum oil was observed in the air on August 23, but the sheen was not discovered until August 24.

Pocono Mountain School District is working with DEP in this ongoing investigation.

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