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DEC: Hurley Brothers didn't report oil spill; fines possible

Company said it thought spill was only on its property

August 29, 2014
By MATTHEW TURNER ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The state Department of Environmental Conservation's police have issued a notice of violation to a local fuel supply company for its failure to report an oil spill that occurred on Aug. 19.

More than 20 gallons of oil spilled - the exact amount is unknown - from a Hurley Brothers truck during a mechanical failure last week at the company's property at 268 Station St., according to the DEC's earlier investigation. An "undetermined amount" of oil entered Mill Pond, DEC reported.

The spill was first reported by local residents and called into the DEC's Spill Response Team on Aug. 21, two days after the spill occurred. According to the DEC website, petroleum spills of more than five gallons must be reported in the first two hours.

Article Photos

Oil seeped into the village storm drain system on Station Street, and eventually Mill Pond, from drains on Hurley Brothers’ property. The spill occurred last week on Aug. 19.
(Photo — Matthew Turner)

The investigation will continue, and further charges could be filed if warranted, DEC spokeswoman Emily Kilburn said.

"There could possibly be fines," Kilburn said. "We don't know what the fine is going to be because the investigation is ongoing."

"Basically, we have a hearing with the DEC, and we'll figure out what's happening," said Bill Hurley, the owner of Hurley Brothers.

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Hurley said company staff did not report the spill because they believed it was contained on their property. That was not the case; the oil seeped into storm drains on Hurley Brothers' property and then traveled through village storm drains, which empty into Mill Pond. Hurley said the company has reported discharges to DEC in the past.

"Petroleum sheens continue along small sections of the Mill Pond shoreline," Kilburn said Friday, Aug. 29. "DEC will continue to monitor the shoreline on both sides of Mill Pond for petroleum sheen into next week. Absorbent pads and booms will be deployed as necessary."

Hurley said he did not see oil on Mill Pond last he checked.

"We removed the boom yesterday and didn't witness any, but it could come and go with the wind current," Hurley said.

Hurley Brothers cleaned oil from storm drains on their property and on Station Street. However, there could still be oil inside of one storm drain that has not yet been cleaned, Hurley said. That runoff drain empties into Mill Pond underwater, village Mayor Craig Randall said.

"The issue that everyone is cooperating on right now is determining what the DEC wants next," Randall said. "Our department people are cooperating with the DEC and assisting Hurley Brothers any way we can."

Randall said village employees assisted in sucking oil out of the storm drains on Station Street this week. The amount of oil in the catch basins was "very little," he said.

Village Trustee Jason Leon said the village board should investigate the storm drain infrastructure in the area around Hurley Brothers and address it so the same scenario won't happen again in the future.

"I understand that it's an accident," Leon said. "The accident highlighted how old the infrastructure is underneath, and I just want to make sure that if there is an accident in the future, it doesn't impact the surrounding environment."

According to the Spill Response Team, conditions on Mill Pond and the Chubb River continue to improve, Kilburn said. The DEC will continue to monitor the pond and river next week.



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