Chemical Spill Overflows into PA River

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 12:06 PM gHale

A solvent spill caused after a power outage occurred at the Global Tungsten & Powders Corp. (GTP) plant caused a tank to overflow into a storm drain which carried it to the Susquehanna River, officials said.

The solvent spill at GTP in Towanda, PA, was 100 gallons and there is no risk to the general public, said North Towanda Fire Chief Terry Sheets. This solvent is similar to a kerosene based product, GTP said.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the state Fish & Boat Commission were on scene, Sheets said.

Sheets also said the presence of the solvent in the river poses no danger to the public. “It will be diluted,” he said.

The nearest water supply that draws water from the river is 25 to 30 miles downriver. The DEP remains satisfied the effect of the solvent on drinking water “won’t be an issue,” Sheets said.

“An aromatic odor may be experienced downstream but, again, this presents no risk to the public,” GTP said.

GTP is coordinating cleanup efforts with Bradford County emergency service agencies and state agencies, the release said.

These efforts include using absorbent materials to remove the solvent from the water and air monitoring. Boating and river travel ended up restricted for 24 hours in the area around the spill.

The Fish & Boat Commission is recommending that no one fish in the area “at this time,” Sheets said. “We anticipate the situation to be completely resolved by the end of the business day on Thursday, June 5,” GTP said.

The spill occurred when a power outage occurred at the plant, which caused a tank containing the solvent to overflow, Sheets said. The spilled solvent went into a storm drain which carried it to an outfall along the Susquehanna River, he said.

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