Oil leak in Quemahoning Creek contained as search for source continues | News

ACOSTA, Pa. — A temporary dam was in place Monday to prevent leaking oil from flowing into Quemahoning Creek, while local, state and federal officials worked to trace the source of the leak.

Somerset County Emergency Management Director Joel Landis said the Borough of Somerset was providing a waterproof “micro-camera” to power an underground pipe that had been spilling oil for nearly two weeks. A green dye was added to Jenner Township’s stormwater collection system to help officials determine the correct line in which to operate their cameras, he added.

At the site of the leak in Jenner Township, a response team consisting of Landis and teams from Jenner Township, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency environment worked alongside a two-stage system to trap leaking oil.

Pillow-like pads designed to absorb oil have been stretched near the outlet pipe to soak up the worst of the pollution.

Downstream, Somerset County Hazardous Materials Response Team and Acosta Fire Department personnel set up the temporary dam over the weekend to catch any oil that breaches the containment zone. initial.

Made from a tough tarp-like material, Bellwood-based HalenHardy’s ‘instant weir’ is designed to collect oils that float on water while allowing the water itself to pass through. endorsement,” said Donny Beaver, the company’s founder.

The original founder of Tipton-based industrial absorbent company New Pig Corp., Beaver has spent much of his career deploying new materials to contain heavy spills, dating back to the infamous Exxon Valdez crash in 1989. .

Small spills like this are much more common, Beaver said. That’s the kind of emergency his company’s dam is intended for — it’s designed to allow small teams of responders to unroll it over a slow-flowing stream.

“Small spills make up about 70% of all oil spills,” said Beaver, who worked as a contractor for the EPA to support the cleanup effort. “It has to be contained at the source. If you let it go, even small oil leaks can cause problems. What you don’t want are ducks and other birds entering it from downstream.

With the leak confined to a small area, efforts to locate its source have continued in recent days. Landis said an excavator was used outside a house up the creek, but his questionable reservoir did not turn out to be the source.

With man hours and resources piling up and oil still flowing, Landis secured a state-authorized disaster declaration on Monday that will allow Jenner Township officials to expedite the cleanup and, possibly, be, to reimburse the expenses of the speakers, he said.

Landis hoped the camera would allow crews to find the source quickly.

He warned that the green dye added to the local stormwater system could also give Quemahoning Creek a temporary greenish color. The dye is non-toxic, he added, and it won’t last.

EPA on-site coordinator Kevin Clark, whose territory includes western Pennsylvania, said it can often be difficult to trace the source of a pollutant from an underground line.

His office was contacted because the EPA can quickly provide equipment and other specialized support that might be more difficult to acquire at the county or municipal level, he said.

He and Somerset Conservation District Manager Len Lichvar credited local officials with containing the leak.

“It’s a great stream for fish – and we want it to stay that way,” Clark said. “If (the leak) is left untreated, it could potentially cause great harm to wildlife or fish downstream over time.”

The Lichvar Conservation District often stores trout downstream in the creek, and it stopped by Monday to see how cleanup efforts were progressing. He said he was glad the dam was in place and that the EPA was interested in it.

“With their resources…it gives me hope that a solution will be found to stop this leak,” Lichvar said.

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