DEP: Oil leak traced to White Haven Center, approx. 2,000 gallons spill, some into Linesville Creek

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WHITE HAVEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is investigating an oil leak that caused quite a mess.

The oil leaked into a Luzerne County creek that feeds into the Lehigh River. The spill has some community members concerned about the potential effects on the habitat.

“That’s a lot for just a little body of water,” Madilyn Hinkle of weatherly said.

It was a seemingly typical Thursday at work for Hinkle at the Powerhouse Eatery in White Haven.
But just a stone’s throw away in the Linesville Creek, a 2,000-gallon oil spill turned the water red.

“It’s really gross, and I’m worried about the changes it’s going to have on the environment and the things around it. It’s just a small creek so, to bounce back from that I think it’s going to be hard,” Hinkle said.

The DEP says the leak is traced to an above-ground oil tank at the nearby White Haven Center that holds 20,000 gallons. It’s a state-owned facility for residents with intellectual and physical challenges, run by the Department of Human Services.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it impacts the local environment and see how they would clean up after that,” Will Green of Penn Lake Park said.

Crews were seen placing absorbent materials into the creek. The Department of Human Services tells Eyewitness News in a statement they’re working with the DEP, and a hazmat crew has been deployed for cleanup.

“I hope that they’re able to contain it and minimize any impact that it would have on the environment locally,” Green said.

A peculiar sight Hinkle never imagined to see in her community, let alone at the end of her shift.

“It’s kind of strange. I feel like stuff like this doesn’t usually happen because it’s such a small town and we don’t really have large bodies of water, like, it’s just a creek and it doesn’t often happen so it’s weird to think about,” Hinkle said.

They also say the investigation into the oil leak is ongoing and there’s no word yet on how long it will take to clean up the creek.

UPDATE: DEP officials tell us it is unclear at this time how much of the 2,000 gallons of oil made its way into Linesvillve Creek. Our original headline to this story indicated that all 2,000 gallons of oil had made its way into the waterway.

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