DEP investigating whether old oil well caused Fox Chapel ooze

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is trying to determine whether an abandoned oil well caused the evacuation of a house in Fox Chapel this past weekend.

Crews called out to 755 Bending Oak Lane on Saturday evening found a strong smell of gas and a petroleum fluid oozing out of a yard, the DEP has said.

Though a Sunoco Logistics pipeline ran through the area, a company spokesman said the pipeline was put of service several months ago and was not involved in the leak. Sunoco said it removed six drums of affected soil.

“They cleaned it up to be a good neighbor even though they did not cause the release,” Amanda Witman, a spokeswoman for the DEP, wrote in an email.

Ms. Witman said the main “release” affected a 225-square-foot area of the yard and has been mostly cleaned up. A second site on the property was also contaminated, though that cleanup will fall to the homeowner, she said.

The substance found at the site “strongly resembles crude oil,” Ms. Witman said, adding that the agency’s on-site investigation has concluded.

The department “will be working throughout the week to determine if there is an abandoned conventional oil well in the general vicinity of the property,” she wrote. “That will likely be determined by sometime next week.”

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