No Source Found For Leak in Creek
By Dan Hust
HORTONVILLE January 12, 2007 NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) workers continue to clean up a gasoline spill at the Callicoon Creek in Hortonville, but the source has yet to be identified.
DEC spokesperson Wendy Rosenbach has said that the Kountry Korner gas station on Route 17B is the suspected origin, as it sits just a few yards from the spill area.
But, as the station’s owner and the DEC have both pointed out, that has yet to be confirmed.
And as Rosenbach said yesterday, tests of the station’s equipment and pumps showed no evidence of leakage or malfunction.
Six nearby wells, plus Kountry Korner’s well, were tested, she added, and they showed no signs of contamination.
As for odor and downstream contamination concerns, NYS Health Department spokesperson Jeffrey Hammond said the DEC is the lead agency on this response and that his agency is working with the DEC to minimize any health effects.
He could not identify any issues at this point, however.
The DEC maintains an online database of spill reports at www.dec.state.ny.us/cfmx/extapps/derfoil/index.cfm, which reveals that spills of a variety of products mostly gasoline are fairly common in Sullivan County.
The station like several others throughout the area has been included in various spill reports made to the DEC this year, according to DEC records, including a possible spill into the creek in August.
The DEC’s spills database also references a December 10 spill report indicating a possible spill affecting groundwater and the December 20 report alleging a five-gallon spill affecting the soil.
The August and December 10 reports did not list a specific cause, but the December 20 spill report said it was a result of equipment failure.
The station recently was the subject of a consent order by the DEC requiring it to fix five violations noted by DEC personnel in a March visit.
According to the order, DEC staff cited Kountry Korner for failing to display a valid and current registration, failing to maintain inventory records, failing to maintain spill prevention equipment, failing to timely call in a spill and failing to maintain Stage I vapor recovery equipment, all in relation to its petroleum bulk storage facility.
Gurdeep Singh, owner of Star Market LLC (under which Kountry Korner operates), agreed to pay an $8,200 fine over a six-month period starting in June, along with rectifying the violations.
Franck Dumas, a Hortonville resident who made the December 10 spill call to the DEC, said the latest spill might be coming from a drainage pipe that runs near the station’s gas tank. He was told by the son of a former Kountry Korner owner that the pipe comes down off the hill behind the station and empties into the creek directly across the road.
Rosenbach said the DEC is investigating the soil near the station, which could have been contaminated with gasoline some time ago.
Regardless of the source, Dumas wondered why the DEC had not taken action sooner, as for at least a week the station had put its own oil-absorbent booms into the creek to catch the gasoline.
It wasn’t until December 20 that the DEC brought in Precision Environmental Services of Ballston Spa to officially take over cleanup duties.