Cleanup continues at a part of the gasoline spill that was found on the Laurel Pipeline about 500 feet west of Mountain Road in Penn Township early Monday morning.
According to officials from Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency, crews from Marklesburg Volunteer Fire Co. and EMA were dispatched to the area shortly before 8 a.m.
Pipeline officials were unable to disclose at this time how much gasoline has been spilled in the area at this time.
“It was discovered when pipeline worker crews showed up about 7 a.m. to begin work, and they noticed a strong odor,” said EMA director Joe Thompson. “That’s when they saw what they thought was the potential for a leak.”
Immediately after EMA was dispatched to the scene, notifications were made to the state Emergency Management Agency watch center, and crews began to secure the area and identify the issues.
“The first efforts were to identify where the problem may be and to isolate the immediate area,” said Thompson. “This is where we noticed it was around Mountain Run, where a small stream of gasoline was quickly identified and coming out of a drain area and going into an area already protected by pipeline workers to prevent anything from going further. There were already booms in place.
“Mountain Road was promptly closed between Redstone Ridge Road and the top of the mountain for safety reasons,” he added. “We didn’t want anything that could be a spark or ignition source in the area, given the potential for gasoline that may be present. There will also be a lot of pipeline vehicles, state officials and cleanup crews on site.”
It was also determined at that time that no evacuation of homes was necessary, and there was no immediate danger for those living in the immediate area, said Thompson.
Thompson further explained the leak is not a result of the entire pipeline breaking, but it’s more like a break in the line.
“It has been shut down, but there was still product coming out, but they brought vacuum trucks in to get as much of the product out so they can get to the actual site of the leak,” said Thompson.
As work done Monday at the site was to stop any further contamination, but Thompson said they hope to fix the leak and begin cleanup efforts of the contaminated area in earnest.
Thompson also credits crews from Marklesburg Volunteer Fire Co. for their quick action.
“They placed booms in the area to make sure there were no streams that were impacted,” he said. “We’re not seeing any contamination in the streams currently.”
Also, officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection as well potential federal officials will be on site, along with PEMA officials, to oversee cleanup efforts today.
Additionally, Thompson thanked officials from Laurel Pipe Line Co. for their cooperation with EMA, fire company officials as well as DEP and other officials on scene.
However, Thompson said he’s also working with Penn Township officials to keep them informed of any changes in the situation.
Officials from Laurel Pipeline Co., which is an affiliate of Buckeye Partners L.P., said the pipeline will be shut down until the leak is repaired.
The Laurel Pipeline, which has been underground in this area since the 1950s, and it has historically been used for the movement of petroleum east to west from Philadelphia-area refineries.
The state Utility Commission, however did approve in August allowing the initiation of bi-directional service of petroleum products along the Laurel Pipeline, while preserving the existing east-to-west capacity that enables transportation service from points of origin near Philadelphia to delivery points in western Pennsylvania.