Washington Township crews continue to clean oil spill in Spring Lake

Washington Township crews continue to clean oil spill in Spring Lake

Source: http://www.nj.com, June 30, 2014
By: Kristina Pritchett

Crews are continuing to work to remove an oil-like substance from Spring Lake off of Pitman-Downer Road and determine where it came from.

Nearly 1,000 gallons of the substance, which seems to be a type of home heating oil according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese, was dumped in the lake over the past two days.

“We don’t know at this point,” Ragones said of the substance’s origin. “It could be coming from a resident’s heating tank, or it could be a business up the road. No one is using heat right now, so if it’s from a resident they may not even know it leaked.”

Washington Township Fire Department was called to the scene around 5 p.m. Sunday when residents on Hydra Lane reported a gasoline odor and an orange colored substance in the water.

“Around noon there was a gasoline smell,” said Dennis Millar, a resident on Hydra Lane, whose property backs up to Spring Lake. “But we just thought it was someone mowing the lawn and spilled some gasoline.”

Then around 5 p.m., Millar said he saw the substance in the water near his brother Ron’s house, who also lives on Hydra Lane. They called police to notify them.

On Monday, members of the Washington Township Fire Department, Gloucester County Emergency Management and Ken’s Marine Service — a private contractor —  were at the scene working to clean the lake, along with the DEP.

The crews working on cleaning the lake installed booms to contain any oil that may be flowing to collect it.

The substance moved downstream from the pond into small streams and into Spring Lake but has not reached Ward Lake, Hoffman said earlier Monday.

Ragonese said the clean-up may take up to 48 hours, but the smell could last longer.

“The odors could last a few days because of the mud and swampy area. It could get caught in the grass and stay a bit longer,” he said.

Ron Millar said the smell is obnoxious and hopes the lake can be cleaned soon.

Millar said he was concerned about the wildlife they get in the area, including hawks, different types of fish and turtles.

“They finally came back after all the construction and now this happens,” Millar said.

Ragonese said there was one turtle that was impacted from the spill that the workers found.

Residents are urged to keep their windows closed to try and eliminate the odor from the home.

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