School goes remote for final week due to gasoline spill in Delco

Thousands of gallons of fuel leaked into nearby bodies of water.
School goes remote for final week due to gasoline spill in Delco
A vacuum truck extracted water from a retention pond behind Coebourn Elementary School in Brookhaven, where the gasoline-soaked soil also seeped into the school playground. Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

BROOKHAVEN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Crews are still cleaning up the aftermath of a gas station fuel spill over the weekend in Delaware County, which trickled into nearby waterways and forced a school to go virtual once again.

A vacuum truck extracted water from a retention pond Tuesday morning behind Coebourn Elementary School in Brookhaven, where the gasoline-soaked soil also seeped into the school playground.

As a result, Coebourn’s nearly 400 students will learn remotely for the rest of the week, which also marks the end of the school year.

“The indoor air quality is good right now, but that could change,” said Dr. George Steinhoff, superintendent of the Penn-Delco School District. “It’s hard to learn with this kind of noise in the background. Sometimes kids come here and they see the large, heavy-duty trucks, and that doesn’t seem like a safe place. So it’s better safe than sorry, and we are going to finish the week out virtually.”

On Saturday, thousands of gallons of gasoline from the Gas N Go at Coebourn Boulevard and Edgmont Avenue leaked into the ground and bodies of water. It funneled into the school’s neighboring pond as well as Shepard Run, a small tributary that flows into Chester Creek. Environmental officials said fish, turtles, frogs and even a fox have died because of the fuel contamination.

“The remediation effort really involves trying to get all of the liquid … trying to pull up every bit of water,” explained Timothy Boyce, director of Delaware County Emergency Services. “That water is then cleaned before it is released into the environment.

“There are also booms in the waterways. Booms are basically absorbent towels that skim the water in real time. They collect the products and then we can dispose of them safely.”

water booms soak up gasoline-contaminated water in Brookhaven
Booms soak up gasoline-contaminated water in Brookhaven. Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency and Delaware County Emergency Services are participating in the investigation and cleanup efforts.

Featured Image Photo Credit: John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio