Oil leak stanched; Some Riverview residents leave

An oil leak at a pump jack in Conewango Township led some Riverview Apartments residents to leave their homes Monday night.

Starbrick Volunteer Fire Department, Warren County All-Hazards Team, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection all sent responders to a well site above the apartments at about 10 p.m.

According to DEP reports, the spill was contained with soil berms and sorbent pads but the flow of oil was not stopped.

“There was no way to stop the oil discharge,” a DEP official who responded to the scene wrote. “The leak consisted of a flow of crude about the size of a pencil lead, surging to the size of a pencil at times.”

“The well was not pumping, but was pressured up and flowing crude around the stuffing box,” the official wrote. “A spill of crude covered an area approximately 20 feet by 20 feet at the well location.”

The official reported that the smell from the leak was “causing self-evacuations” at Riverview Apartments.

One person was transported to a hospital for medical treatment, according to Warren County Public Safety Director Todd Lake, but details were not available.

Someone had been aware of the problem, or at least the possibility of a problem.

“The operator had taped a sorbent pad around the stuffing box, but it had been soaked with oil for quite some time,” the DEP official wrote.

According to DEP, Russell C. Southwell is the well operator. Attempts to reach Southwell were unsuccessful.

Attempts to reach Starbrick Volunteer Fire Department were unsuccessful.