White Haven Center Oil Leak Update


WHITE HAVEN, ALZERNE COUNTY (WBRE / WYOU) – Eyewitness News provided an update on a story Eyewitness News first told you last night about an oil spill.

Some of the oil seeped into a stream in Luzerne County that empties into the Lehigh River. Efforts are underway to clean up the oil that has caused quite a mess in Linesville Creek.

DEP officials say people can still enjoy the Lehigh River this weekend, but advise keeping an eye out for any oil sheen that may have escaped the stream.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection first learned of the leak which turned the water slightly red Thursday morning. They say the oil spill is attributed to an aboveground tank at the nearby White Haven Center that holds 20,000 gallons.

The White Haven Center is a state-owned facility for residents with intellectual and physical challenges. A hazardous materials team cleans up the mess.

DEP officials told Eyewitness News it was not clear how much oil entered the creek, but they say at least 2,000 gallons escaped from the tank. Teams were on site Thursday and Friday, putting white absorbent towels in the stream.

“Lehigh River, there is a lot of whitewater rafting, especially this weekend. We are seeing minimal impact on the Lehigh River. People who use the river this weekend may notice oil reflections in some places and may notice a smell of fuel oil in the air. It’s typical, but it’s nothing dangerous that we are warning people to stay away. Obviously stay away from the Shard, but we won’t warn you to stay away from the river, ”DEP regional spokesperson Colleen Connolly told Eyewitness News.

DEP says the investigation of the oil spill is ongoing and they will be monitoring Linesville Creek over the next few weeks.


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