DEC: Hurley Brothers didn’t report oil spill

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 property on Station Street, 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.

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

“There could possibly be fines,” Kilburn told the Enterprise. “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.

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. “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 there was no 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.

The runoff drain that empties into the pond was not cleaned because it cannot be found among the shrubbery at the edge of the pond. Hurley Brothers and the DEC Spill Response Team searched for the drain while setting up an oil absorbent boom on Aug. 26, but could not find it. Hurley said he made calls to the village to locate it.

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 Chubb River continue to improve, Kilburn said. The DEC will continue to monitor the pond and river next week.