Saturday, June 13, 2015

DEP: Update On Miller Chemical Fire In Adams County, Issues Cautions

The Department of Environmental Protection Saturday issued the following update on the cleanup efforts and environmental impacts of Monday’s fire at Miller Chemical, a fertilizer plant in Adams County.
Miller Chemical is a manufacturer of water soluble fertilizers used for commercial agricultural crops as well a supplier of soil mixtures. Due to the large amount of runoff from the firefighting efforts, contaminated runoff had a significant impact to Slagle’s Run and the South Branch of the Conewago Creek.
Time of travel estimates indicate that the plume of contamination in the Conewago Creek entered the Susquehanna River at York Haven early Saturday morning. No discoloration or impacts to the Conewago have been observed where it enters the Susquehanna. There are still visible impacts to the Conewago Creek near Dover and East Berlin.
No significant impacts to the Susquehanna River were observed. There was no discoloration to the river water.
While the Conewago is discolored, citizens should refrain from recreating or fishing. Once visible discoloration is no longer observed, samples will be taken to confirm that the creek is safe for recreational activities.
Slagle’s Run is running clear. No additional contaminated runoff from the Miller site was entering the run.
Public drinking water supplies in the area were not contaminated.
The New Oxford Municipal Authority’s water intake located on the Conewago Creek remains closed. New Oxford is currently receiving water through an interconnection with the York Water Company and other outside sources. Mandatory restrictions remain in effect for customers of the New Oxford system.
As of noon Saturday, water quality seemed to be improving at the site of the New Oxford intake.
Wrightsville is the first downstream public water system that draws water from the Susquehanna River. As a precaution, Wrightsville turned off its river pumps at 4:15 a.m.
Lancaster also draws its water from the Susquehanna River. Lancaster reported no significant changes to the condition of its raw water in the last 24 hours.
Sample results show normal background concentrations for the current condition of the river after recent rain.
At this time, the impacts to private wells are expected to be minimal if the wells are properly constructed and cased. DEP does not regulate private wells.
Owners of private wells should monitor their water for discoloration and contact the department if they see visible discoloration, 717-705-4700.
If an owner of a private well wishes to take further action they can work with a private lab to monitor for Nitrate, Nitrite, Iron, Manganese and Total Organic Carbon (TOC).
Well owners can find more general information at DEP’s Private Water Wells webpage.
Officials Scramble To Deal With Creek Contamination After Fire

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