Gasoline spills as result of deluge

An estimated 55,000 gallons of gasoline leaked into a tributary of the Loyalsock Creek on Friday as a result of flash floods and landslides due to heavy rainfall, state officials said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection Emergency Response Team on Friday responded to the leak of a Sunoco pipeline carrying gasoline in Lycoming County, said Daniel Spadoni, a DEP spokesman.

The pipeline has been shut down since early Friday morning. DEP personnel were on site working closely with staff from Sunoco and its consultant to remediate the effects of this spill, Spadoni said.

DEP has been working on emergency plans with the three northcentral water systems potentially impacted by this spill:

• Shamokin Dam Borough has closed its intake as a precaution, and Aqua PA is amenable to an emergency interconnect to serve Shamokin Dam Borough if needed.

• The Sunbury Municipal Authority currently is using its Little Shamokin Creek source.

• PA American-Milton has notified its customers to conserve water and has asked commercial users to encourage usage reduction. An alternative source of water is insufficient to meet the full demand. PA American will close its intake as necessary and is preparing for a potential interconnect, if needed.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be working with DEP’s emergency response staff on a sampling plan in conjunction with the Sunoco contractors and consultant, Spadoni said.

DEP also is working with the state Department of Transportation for safe access to the pipeline break. The area is difficult for staff and equipment to reach, Spadoni said. As the rain is predicted to continue, it was expected to be late Friday or today before the water recedes and the break area could be found, he said.

DEP has begun to staff an incident command center at the Eldred Township Fire Hall on Warrensville Road.

Sunoco Logistics sent an emergency-response crew to contain and collect gasoline following its release from an 8-inch pipeline near Wallis Run Road in Gamble Township, Jeff Shields, a corporate spokesman, said.

Safety and environmental crews are meeting with affected residents, he said.

“Crews will use skimmers to remove gasoline from the top of affected waterways and will erect containment booms downstream,” Shields said.

The gas spill is near the intersection of the road and Butternut Grove Road in Gamble Township, Lycoming County, he said.

The leak was noticed when a drop in pressure in the pipeline was detected by the company’s control center shortly after 3 a.m. Friday, Shields said.

Sunoco released a toll-free number for those impacted by the gasoline release. The number is 1-800-759-5644.