Manchester Twp. chemical spill prompts hazmat response

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Area near Manchester Twp.'s industrial park where county officials say a chemical leaked from large drugs and made its way into a tributary that leads to Codorus Creek.

A chemical spill near Manchester Township's industrial park ended up in a stream that leads to the Codorus Creek, county officials said.

Crews were dispatched to the intersection of Church Road and Interchange Place about 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 18, after a woman walking her dog noticed a red film in the stream, officials said.

A York Area United Fire and Rescue crew responded, contained the spill and summoned the York County Hazardous Materials Team and the state Department of Environmental Protection, according to YAUFR Chief Dan Hoff.

Dan Santoemma, the county's hazmat planner, said the dog-walker called 911 immediately after noticing a red film on the water.

The deputy chief of the county's hazmat team checked the water's pH level and found it to be normal, he said.

"Then (crew members) spread out and tried to find out where the chemical was coming from," Santoemma said. "We were out there for several hours trying to locate the spill."

The search ended when they found two large drums — each capable of holding between 275 and 300 gallons of liquid — on the property of Mistras Asset Protection Solution, he said. That business is located at 2 Interchange Place.

"We have no way to tell how much (liquid) was in them," he said, but he guessed the drums were possibly half full.

Photographic solution: Santoemma said he was told the liquid is something called D-128 and is a photography developing solution that's not hazardous.

"DEP did notice some dead fish in the water, but it was in one isolated location," he said, adding that a DEP crew took water samples.

DEP also is investigating what caused one or both of the drums to leak, he said.

Santoemma said that because the chemical is water-soluble, it doesn't float atop water and therefore there was no way for the hazmat team to contain it.

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"By the time we found the source, it was moving pretty quickly through the stream and got diluted pretty quickly," he said.

It's unclear whether the chemical made it to the Codorus Creek in any significant concentration. Santoemma referred that question to DEP. He said DEP would be in charge of any cleanup efforts.

Ongoing investigation: DEP spokesman John Repetz said the agency continues to investigate the spill.

He said early information indicates an "uncertain amount of an acetic acid solution used as a film developer was spilled at the scene."

He said DEP emergency personnel spotted about 25 dead fish in the tributary.

By the time DEP got to the scene, the spill was no longer active, according to Repetz.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.