Heating oil spills into Schuylkill River

Two days after a 4,200-gallon heating oil leak, environmental cleanup crews continued work Monday in the ares of the spill site near the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. A stench was still evident near the partially frozen river marked by a reddish sheen of oil.

Between 200 to 250 gallons of home heating oil leaked into the river beginning Saturday night, according to the city’s Office of Emergency Management. The Philadelphia Water Department, alerted to the incident via Twitter, sent a crew over to investigate.

The spill is downstream of the city’s water intakes, and it poses no threat to drinking water supplies, said department spokesman John DiGiulio.

Workers “visited the site and investigated the report that night with a follow up visit Sunday and today,” said DiGiulio in an email.

About 4,200 gallons of the oil leaked from a building at 2400 Market Street, traveling onto the CSX tracks and the Schuylkill River Banks trail, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

It’s unclear whether the oil traveled on the ground or through the sewer system. The heavy snow has made it difficult to determine where the bulk of the oil has accumulated, and the DEP said much of it may be trapped in the snow.

The Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and DEP are working on a plan to absorb the oil from the water and ice. The building’s owner, Century Link, has hired an environmental remediation company to clean up the spill, city officials said.

Mark Molven, a spokesman for Century Link, said the investigation is ongoing, and would not provide additional comment.

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