West York borough building closed after leak

Sean Philip Cotter

A coolant leak in the West York municipal building Wednesday night will keep the building closed until Monday morning, borough council president Shawn Mauck estimated.

Austin Landis, of Servpro, dumps a shovel full of soaked absorbent material swept out of the West York borough offices after a coolant spill in the building in West York, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

He said it appears someone bumped the air-conditioning mechanism in the building at 1381 W. Poplar St. around 8:30 p.m., causing a significant amount of a diluted glycol solution to spill.

"Someone either bumped the valve or there was some malfunction" that caused the spill, he said. "One of the employees noticed a leak, and it continued to gush."

George Fisher, of Servpro, dumps a pail of fluid into a container at the West York borough offices after a coolant leak in the building in West York, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

He said most of the spill remained inside the building, which is the former Loucks Elementary School that the borough bought from the West York Area School District this year. But because a little bit made its way outside, the borough notified the state Department of Environmental Protection, and county hazardous-material crews came out to the spill, Mauck said.

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"We took precautions to make sure it didn't seep into the stormwater system," he said, adding that they were successful in that.

Propylene glycol is generally considered safe, but frequent exposure to it can cause skin irritation, according to the federal government's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Mauck said the air-conditioning unit doesn't need to be replaced, but some ceiling tiles sustained damage.

The police department is also in the building, but a different section, so police operations weren't affected, the council president said.

Borough residents can still reach staff at the normal phone numbers: (717) 846-8889 or (717) 846-8880. The borough manager or other employees will make arrangements to meet with West York residents, he said.

— Sean Cotter covers York City for The York Dispatch. Contact him atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.

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