The Department of Environmental Protection Friday said it has concluded its three-month investigation regarding a substance and odor that ran through the Greenridge section of Scranton Sewer Authority in September 2015.
The investigation revealed that the source of the petroleum-based liquid cannot be determined, and the substance, an undetermined small amount, was likely introduced into the system during a one-time release.
“The department spent significant resources trying to pinpoint who or what was responsible for this substance being illegally dumped into the sewer system,” said Mike Bedrin, Director of DEP Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “We worked closely with authority inspectors to determine what happened and how. Finding the answers to those questions and determining a responsible party were not possible in this case, where a small quantity of material was dumped into a large sewer system.”
DEP’s Emergency Response Team was first called to the sewer line at Drinker Place and Capouse Avenue for a report of a “horrendous odor” coming from the line on the night of September 24.
DEP and SSA inspectors monitored the upstream sewer line to identify the origin of the chemical odor. A similar odor was detected along Reeves Street, Monahan Avenue.
Hand-held devices were used to detect air readings at all three locations. Volatile organic compounds were detected at levels significantly higher than background levels. To clear the odor from the sewer line, DEP recommended that SSA begin flushing the line with water.
Dunmore Fire Department recommended evacuation of the Sleep Inn as a precaution. Staff at St. Joseph’s Center moved dormitory students to another building on campus.
DEP inspected Keystone Landfill’s leachate treatment plant that night, and observed no odor other than ammonia, common during leachate treatment. Leachate samples from the landfill and raw sewage samples from SSA were analyzed by DEP Bureau of Laboratories.
The leachate samples from the landfill were not consistent with the substance that caused the odor. The raw sewage samples contained a petroleum-based component consistent with the substance that caused the odor.
The landfill was not discharging treated leachate into the sewer system on the night of the incident.
SSA identified and inspected 23 commercial users in the area of the sewer line, none of whom were identified as the responsible party. A television camera inspection of the main lines along Monahan and Reeves Streets in Dunmore, , showed no signs of the petroleum-based substance.
On September 25, DEP received a second odor complaint near Sanderson Avenue and Detty Street. DEP and SSA responded; no odor or unusual flow was detected.
DEP’s emergency response, follow-up investigation and lab analysis can be found on the Community Information webpage for DEP’s Northeast Regional Office.Citizens can contact DEP’s complaint line at 570-830-3057 or 1-866-255-5158, ext.2.