Leaky collection pipe causes small crude oil leak on West Branch

Oil-soaked ground from a leaking crude oil collection pipe off the West Branch Road in Allegany is being investigated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — The state Department of Environmental Conservation responded Monday night to a crude oil spill on a lease along West Branch Road in the town of Allegany.

An undetermined amount of crude oil leaked from a rusty 3-inch collection line onto the ground. The smell of crude oil filled the air around the spill on Wednesday.

DEC staff and the operator of the lease, who was not identified by DEC staff, worked into the night to stop the flow of oil through a leaking pipe and keep more oil out of the nearby stream.

A member of the DEC Oil Spill Response Team was at the scene on Wednesday. The DEC planned to cover the area of the spill in tarps before rain forecast for Wednesday afternoon arrived.

The operator has volunteered to clean up the oil spill, according to state Environmental Conservation Police.

A tour of the site showed a leaky pipe had been dug up and capped. An absorbent material had been spread over much of the oil-soaked ground. White absorbent sheets had been immediately been placed in Four Mile Creek at several places to intercept any crude oil leaching into it.

DEC staff expect an excavator will be used to remove oil-soaked soil. New soil will have to be brought to the site and a section of the leaky pipe replaced. The soil must be disposed of properly.

A small amount may have been released into the stream, according to Environmental Conservation Police who are investigating.

DEC communications staff in Buffalo said the investigation was continuing and more information including the leaseholder and operator would be released later.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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