Thursday, October 26, 2023

Large Heating Oil Spill In Cumberland County Highlights A Hole In Storage Tank Act, Availability Of Voluntary Underground Tank Leak Cleanup Insurance

On October 17, the Department of Environmental Protection responded to citizen reports of a petroleum odor and oil sheen on the Conodoguinet Creek in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County.

DEP determined the source of the leak was a large underground heating oil storage tank used at the Cumberland-Perry Area Career and Technical Center on Old Willow Mill Road in Mechanicsburg.

The amount of heating oil that leaked is not known, but the tank contained approximately 9,100 gallons of heating oil at the time of the leak, according to reports.  The school said the tank passed a pressurized tightness test in August.

DEP said the school is cooperating and retained a cleanup contractor.

As a result of the spill, the PA American Water Company shut down its water supply intake at its Silver Spring Water Treatment Plan and immediately issued an advisory for its 42,000 customers to conserve water.  

That advisory continues.  Click Here for updates.

Customer Use Heating Oil Tanks Exempt

The 1989 state Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act does not regulate tanks used for storing heating oil for consumptive use on the premises, unless they are specifically regulated by Federal law.

As a result, heating oil tanks like the one that leaked at the Cumberland-Perry School, are not required to be registered with DEP or regularly inspected.

It is up to the heating oil tank owner to inspect, test and maintain the tank and take steps to prevent spills and leaks.

DEP encourages all heating oil tank owners to inspect their tanks as a common sense preventative measure to help avoid leaks and spills like the one that just happened in Cumberland County.

DEP recommends homeowners with heating oil tanks do the same thing.  Read more here.

Tank Spill Cleanup Insurance Available

Owners of underground heating oil tanks of 3,000 gallons or more have the option to voluntarily apply for tank cleanup coverage under the Department of Insurance Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund, also established under the Storage Tank Act (Section 704(e))

To learn more about this option, underground heating oil tank owners can visit the USTIF Heating Oil Tanks webpage or contact the USTIF Program by calling (717) 787-0763 or (800) 595-9887  or send email to

Background On Storage Tanks

There are 21,251 underground storage tanks now registered and regulated by DEP, as of September 30, 2022.

There were 226 confirmed leaks and releases from underground tanks from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022, according to DEP.

Click Here for information on aboveground storage tanks regulated by DEP.

To learn more about regulation of underground and aboveground storage tanks, visit DEP’s Storage Tanks webpage or call 800-42TANKS, 717-772-5599 or send an email to


-- Tri-State Alert: DEP Says Spill In Cumberland County Creek Caused By Heating Oil Tank Rupture At Career Tech

-- CBS21: Residents Urged To Conserve Water As Cleanup Continues After Oil Spill

-- ABC27: Oil Spills Into Cumberland County Creek, Prompts Water Conservation Order

-- ABC27: Cumberland County Well Users Concerned Over Oil Spill

[Posted: October 26, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner