Workers from Lehigh White Cement and Lancaster County’s Kline’s Services Inc. use squeegees to guide limestone slurry toward a vacuum pipe
Workers from Lehigh White Cement and Lancaster County's Kline's Services Inc. use squeegees to guide limestone slurry toward a vacuum pipe Saturday. A problem at Lehigh's plant in West Manchester Township spilled the limestone slurry into the Codorus Creek. Below, a great egret stands in an eddy in the creek, which was tinted gray from the slurry Saturday. (Bil Bowden photos)

A limestone slurry spill that turned the Codorus Creek white over the weekend doesn't appear to have done much damage to wildlife.

A state Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman said an inspection by officials on Monday showed "there were no signs of dead or distressed aquatic life."

However, DEP recommended that Lehigh White Cement, the company responsible for the spill, clean up a tributary in which the slurry was discharged before flowing into the Codorus Creek.

"They have hired Kline's Services to clean up the stream," said Lisa Kasianowitz, DEP spokeswoman.

Jeff Sieg, spokesman for Lehigh Hanson, parent company of Lehigh Cement, said cleaning up the slurry has been a top priority.

What happened: The spill happened Saturday as the annual Yorkfest, held along the creek in York City, was going on. The murky, white water from the spill didn't reach the West Market Street bridge over the creek until the after festival was over for the day, Michael Helfrich, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, had said.

The spill appears to be the result of a failure of an onsite storage tank at the cement plant at 200 Hokes Mill Road in West Manchester Township, Kasianowitz said.

"The material then discharged to a storm drain along Hokes Mill Road, and ultimately went into an unnamed tributary to the Codorus Creek," she said.

Lehigh Cement employees built rock filter dams around the drain but "the incident happened so quickly that the discharge still reached the creek," Kasianowitz said.


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There were fears the spill could have caused a fish kill, but that doesn't appear to have happened, Helfrich and Kasinowitz said.

Both DEP and Lehigh Cement are working to determine what caused the failure in the tank, Sieg said.

"At this time, we are still reviewing what happened and working with the DEP to determine the specific cause," he said. "We hope to have further details and clarity soon."

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.