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EPA Expands Sewer Replacement

Release Date: 5/31/2001
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

Contact: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has decided to expand the replacement of damaged sewers to prevent gasoline fumes from wafting into homes in Hazleton and Hazle Township, Luzerne County, Pa. This action ensures that sewers impacted by contaminated ground water are now replaced.
EPA initially planned to replace four blocks of a leaky old sanitary sewer under 22nd Street in order to eliminate ground-water pathways which spilled gasoline can follow through broken sewer pipes and into homes. The gasoline, spilled a decade ago, lies in an underground plume beneath the Laurel Gardens community.
After further review, EPA will now expand the project to include more sewer lines as part of the current phase of the cleanup project. EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) will work with township and city officials to develop the final design of the expanded sewer project.
The expanded sewer replacement project will encompass six blocks, including two more blocks of 22nd Street, from Sherman Street to Parkwood Street; Church Street from 22nd to 23rd; Laurel Street from 22nd to halfway between 20th and 21st Street. There are no existing sewer lines in Laurel Street within Hazle Township north of 22nd Street. Sewer lines will also be replaced that arch across the ballfield from 22nd Street to Manhattan Court. The entire existing sewer line in Manhattan Court will be replaced. There are no existing sewer lines in Lee Court.
Recent analysis of additional data concerning the actual location of the gasoline plume in relation to the sewer system makes this step possible, and will enable EPA and PADEP to begin expanding the sewer project in Laurel Gardens.
The Laurel Gardens plume resulted when four companies – Tranguch Oil, Sam’s Amoco, Orloski’s Shell, and Hazleton Standard Fuel Oil – spilled gasoline into the ground. The U. S. EPA has been heading up the cleanup since 1996, working in conjunction with PADEP, the U. S. Coast Guard, the City of Hazleton and Hazle Township.

State health officials will continue to provide residents with health advice and monitor for unhealthy effects from the plume. EPA is confident that the recent installations of sewer vent traps along with soil vapor extraction and groundwater treatment systems in combination with this expansion of the sewer replacement project will provide a safe environment for the residents of Laurel Gardens.