Crews continue fuel cleanup on Buckeye Road 4 days after fatal accident

DEP checking wells in the area

Author: , Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published: Nov 15 2012 12:58:04 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 15 2012 05:35:32 PM EST
Buckeye Road cleanup
UPPER MILFORD TWP., Pa. -

A busy road in Lehigh County remained closed Thursday, four days after a deadly accident involving a diesel tanker.

Crews have been working on Buckeye Road in Upper Milford Township since Sunday night when the crash caused the tanker to spill hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which called it a significant environmental situation, is worried that local drinking wells may have been contaminated.

A 30- to 40-foot hole, just off Buckeye Road, was dug Thursday to determine if the soil amounts to dangerous ground.

"Currently, excavating... a hole in hopes to define the limit of contamination," said Tom Hartnett, a DEP geologist.

DEP officials said 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled after the accident.

According to state police, the accident happened as the tanker truck was turning onto Buckeye Road after leaving a large fuel storage area on Tank Farm Road.

Lower Milford Township's manager said the fuel traveled about 280 feet down both sides of Buckeye Road and 300 feet down Tank Farm Road, but it was contained before going into a drainage system.

Dick Lobach's home borders the excavation site, where the majority of the fuel pooled. His is one of 11 wells tested by the DEP, however, he said he's not concerned about the well and is continuing to use his water.

Test results may be available Friday, but they could be delayed due to a lab backup from Hurricane Sandy.

Crews still aren't sure when the road will reopen. It could be next week or even longer, depending on how fast the work can be done.

Several businesses along the road are concerned the blocked path will be a business killer.

Blackman's Cycle Center said it's already seen a dip in business since Sunday.