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6a00d8341bf7d953ef011570f24e75970c-120wipress release Feb. 24

(12/P16) TRENTON -- A large spill from an oil tank at the Paulsboro Refining Company facility in Gloucester County is not expected to impact the Delaware River or local water supplies. Air monitoring also indicates there should be no health effects from odors caused by the spill.

The Department of Environmental Protection in cooperation with various state and local agencies is monitoring the cleanup of crude oil that has been leaking from the storage tank since this afternoon. 

Petroleum odors have been reported in a number of surrounding communities as a result of the leak that developed in the base of the storage tank. Initial air monitoring by the Gloucester County Health Department and by refinery personnel do not indicate any health hazards from the odors. 

However, sensitive populations such as the elderly or people with respiratory conditions may consider staying indoors until odors subside. Petroleum products have a low odor threshold, meaning they can be smelled readily even at very low levels that do not cause serious health risks.

Air monitoring is being conducted near the plant and in various surrounding communities and will continue until the odors subside.

The spill does not pose a threat to the Delaware River or to municipal water supplies.

Refinery personnel discovered the leak shortly before 1:30 p.m. today. The Paulsboro Refining Company is responsible for cleanup response.

As of 4:30 p.m., 157,000 barrels -- or about 6.6 million gallons -- of oil had leaked into the emergency containment area. The tank holds 286,000 barrels of oil, or about 12 million gallons. The emergency containment area, essentially a large berm surrounding the tank, is designed to hold 377,000 barrels in the event of an emergency.

Emergency crews were applying foam to the oil in the containment area to reduce vapors. The refinery is currently pumping oil in the tank and oil in the containment area into other facilities on-site. Those activities are expected to continue throughout the night.

The DEP's Bureau of Emergency Response is coordinating response efforts along with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, the New Jersey State Police, the Gloucester County Office of Emergency Management, the Gloucester County Health Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and refinery personnel.

Residents with questions may contact a Community Information Line set up by the refinery at 856-224-6177.
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