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DEP Assesses Civil Penalty for Fuel Oil Leak into Lackawanna River







Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has entered into a consent assessment of a civil penalty in the amount of $42,666.77 with CL&W, Inc. of Dunmore, Lackawanna County, for violations associated with a fuel oil release into the Lackawanna River in July of 2014. The leak, at a Scranton property owned by the company, caused an undetermined amount of fuel to enter the river and coat the riverbank and vegetation for more than a mile downstream.

“This penalty aims to further the efforts by DEP and local citizen’s groups to keep the Lackawanna River clean and healthy,” said Mike Bedrin, Director of DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “Companies must be aware of their responsibilities to the river.”

The spill at the property on North Washington Avenue generated from an inactive 508,000-gallon capacity above-ground storage tank containing No. 6 fuel oil, which at one time powered on-site boilers used for steam generation throughout the city when the property was operating as Community Central Energy Corporation. The property was purchased by CL&W, Inc. in 1997.

DEP determined a piping valve at the base of the tank was damaged, which released fuel into an emergency containment area around the tank. The product escaped the containment area through underground sewer piping and entered the combined sewer and storm water collection system. Heavy rains pushed the fuel through the system where it discharged to both the sewage treatment plant and the Lackawanna River. A subsequent investigation by a consultant hired by CL&W determined the tank had either been vandalized or tampered with prior to the leak.

CL&W took action to address the contamination along the Lackawanna River and remediate contamination at the storage tank location. The final reports submitted to the department to demonstrate the completion of the environmental cleanup were approved on May 28, 2015.
The release is a violation of both the Clean Streams Law and Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act. The civil penalty will be distributed between DEP’s Clean Water Fund and the Storage Tank Fund for programs responsible for release prevention and environmental cleanup. Nearly $9,000 of the money is being recouped by DEP for emergency response costs related to the spill incident.
 
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