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National Guard jet fuel spillage hits watershed at Montour Run

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

The 171st Air Refueling Wing and 146th Weather Flight operate out of the Pittsburgh Air National Guard site in Moon where a petroleum spill occurred Sept. 14.


Restoration efforts are still underway to combat effects of a 15,000 gallon jet fuel spill that seeped into the Montour Run watershed the night of Sept. 14.

Following news of the leak at the Pennsylvania Air National Guard base in Moon Township, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) oversaw around the clock cleanup operations lasting several days, which have since been scaled back. The Allegheny County Airport Authority Fire Department and several independent contractors joined

in with the guard's remediation efforts.

The cleanup teams managed to contain much of the spillage - caused by a faulty gasket - however an unidentified quantity made its way into local waterways, according to DEP Spokesperson Lauren Fraley.

Initial DEP inspections revealed “a strong odor and some localized aquatic impacts in the area of impacted streams and fuel sheen on several miles of McClarens Run and Montour Run,” said Fraley.

“While DEP did not observe widespread aquatic impacts, a release of this magnitude calls for significant containment, cleanup, and restoration work.”

That work involved “plac[ing] absorbent booms to collect the petroleum product, install[ing] underflow dams to contain the product, divert[ing] water in the unnamed tributary, vacuum[ing] thousands of gallons of impacted water from the streams, and remove[ing] a significant amount of contaminated soil.”

While efforts to collect the petroleum from the waterways and surrounding run-off areas are largely completed, Fraley said in an email Sept. 27 the work is ongoing.

“DEP will continue to monitor the restoration and stormwater system work throughout the cleanup process,” she said.


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