High Water

Robert Inglis/The Daily Item The Susquehanna River flows swiftly under the bridge into Lewisburg on Friday afternoon.

This story is updated from a previously published version.

Efforts continue to contain and clean up a gasoline spill in Lycoming County after a pipeline ruptured, sending an estimated 1,300 barrels of gas into a tributary of the Susquehanna River's West Branch and potentially impacting water supplies to thousands.

Early estimates have 54,600 gallons of raw gasoline spilling loose, according to Jeff Shields, a spokesman with Sunoco Logistics.

An 8-inch gasoline line — which runs from Reading to Buffalo, N.Y. — broke amid heavy rain and flooding overnight Friday. The leak was detected by Sunoco Logistics, the line’s owner, about 3 a.m., and the line was shut down, Shields said.

Customers of Pennsylvania American Water in Northumberland and Union counties are advised to reduce non-essential water usage as a precaution until further notice. The spill could impact water supplies, said Susan Turcmanovich, external affairs officer for Pennsylvania American Water.

The gasoline poured into Wallis Run at Wallis Run Road and Butternut Grove Road in Gamble Township, Lycoming County. It feeds Loyalsock Creek which discharges 8 miles south to the West Branch near the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville.

Federal and state environmental officials along with state utility commission representatives and emergency responders remain on scene. Impacted residents are advised to call Sunoco Logistics at 1-800-759-5644.

The West Branch is the primary source for Pennsylvania American Water’s treatment plant in Milton, about 27 miles down-river from the airport.

Turcmanovich said storage tanks are being filled on site. Should the plant need to be shut down, customers will be serviced with water from alternative supplies — either from storage tanks or redirected from the White Deer plant.

“We’re just watching to see where this gas flume goes,” Turcmanovich said.

PA American’s plants in White Deer and Milton serve an estimated 12,000 customers, she said.

The company issued an alert to customers about 1:17 p.m. It affects customers in the following communities: Lewisburg, Milton, Northumberland, Watsontown, East and West Chillisquaque townships along with the townships of Delaware, Kelly, Buffalo, East Buffalo, Turbot, White Deer, Point, Upper Augusta and Gregg.

Customers will be notified when the voluntary conservation notice is lifted, and updates will be provided through the Pennsylvania American Water website at www.pennsylvaniaamwater.com, under the Alert Notifications section. For more information, contact Pennsylvania American Water’s customer service center at 1-800-565-7292.

Shamokin Dam Manager Ed Hovenstine said he received word of the gas spill Friday.

“DEP put us on alert,” he said of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The Snyder County borough operates a water treatment facility and before it could draw water from the Susquehanna River, it would need assurances the gasoline wasn’t contaminating the supply, Hovenstine said. Borough officials are taking precautions but are not too concerned since it has 1.25 millions of water stored to meet customer demand for up to five days, he said.

More details will be posted when they become available.

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