Pa. fuel spill signals caution along the Susky
Not expected to affect local water
— A broken fuel line in Lycoming County, Pa., late last week sent 55,000 gallons of gasoline into a creek that flows into the Susquehanna River.
Now water suppliers in Cecil County are waiting and watching to see if the local supply will be contaminated. The Susquehanna River is the main source for customers of Artesian Water in Port Deposit and Perryville also draws directly from the river.
So far tests have shown no traces of the gasoline approaching local water supplies that draw from the Susquehanna.
Joseph DiNunzio, execu-
tive vice president of Artesian, said the Delawarebased utility received word from the Maryland Department of the Environment about the spill. Because of the notification and weather conditions, DiNunzio said action is not needed until later this week.
“By Thursday, it would reach Port Deposit,” he said. “We’ll just make sure all the storage is topped off. Then we’ll turn off the intake and let it pass by.”
DiNunzio said Artesian and other suppliers got plenty of advanced notice.
“It was so far upstream and they reacted quickly,” he said. “People did the right thing.”
Jay Apperson, MDE spokesman, said water supply officials from the state have been in constant contact with operators of the systems in Perryville, Per- ry Point and Port Deposit as well as Havre de Grace.
“At this point it does not appear Maryland will see any results from the spill,” he noted, adding, “All water systems in Pennsylvania are open, even those closest to the spill.”
Gwyn Roland, spokeswoman for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, said Monday that the heavy rainfall over New York and Pennsylvania at the top of the river on Thursday and Friday is helping nature do the cleanup.
“There was so much rain in the upper basin and high flows ... it’s probably long gone and very disbursed,” she said.
Perryville officials are taking no chances though.
In a statement released Monday on the town website, Perryville said it is also monitoring the spill and planned to place a 100-foot absorbent boom around the inflow to the municipal water plant.
“If gas is detected, we will shut our intake valves until the gas passes our system,” the statement reads.
Town officials also assured residents that no traces of the fuel have been found.
Jeff Shields, communica- tions manager for Sunoco Logistics which owns the line, said while the cause is still under investigation, the break appears to have happened during last week’s storm event, which dumped up to 10 inches of rain on the basin.
”The pipeline was under a stream bed in Wallis Run,” he explained.
During the storm a bridge washed out and Shields said it’s likely that debris from the broken bridge struck the 8-inch line carrying the fuel from the refinery.
Pennsylvania environmental officials reported Sunday that the water levels in Wallis Run and Loyalsock Creek had fallen, allowing for more work to be accomplished on site.
An aerial photograph shows the washed out bridge over Wallis Run in Lycoming County, Pa. as a result of torrential rain last week. Debris from the broken bridge is suspected of causing a gas line rupture that sent 55,000 gallons of fuel into the watershed that feeds the Susquehanna River.