Skip to content


Philadelphia, PA | 1993-Jun-21

Initial Notification: On June 21, 1993, the USCG MSO in Philadelphia received a report from a tug boat captain through the National Response Center of an oil sheen in the Schuylkill River. The sheen size was reportedly 200 feet by 1/2 mile. At the time of the report the air temperature was 85?F, skies were overcast, and winds were southwest at 10 to 15 knots. A Marine Environmental Protection Team went to the scene and traced the source of the sheen to the former CELOTEX facility. The MSO hired cleanup contractors for this federally funded cleanup; the facility owner refused to take responsibility. Contractors placed boom in the water and began steam cleaning bulkheads, riprap, and pilings. Oil-soaked soil leaking through a bulkhead proved to be the source of the slick. Found on the site were twenty-three tanks containing unknown product and sludge, three unmarked drums, bags of asbestos waste, hundreds of bales of shredded paper and other garbage, and two five-inch artillery shells. Two tanks were unstable and many were without tops or had holes cut in them. The USCG contacted the Philadelphia Bomb Squad to remove the artillery shells and was contacted by the Philadelphia Environmental Crimes Unit concerning other possible legal infractions at the site. An incident-specific RRT was convened. It took two months to stabilize the site for possible hand-off to State or Federal EPA for long-term site remediation. USCG district 5. Keyword: bioremediation, ground truth, high-pressure warm-water washing, reoiling, sorbent boom, sorbent pompoms.

Incident Details
Products of concern:mixed heavy oils
Latitude (approximate): 39° 56.50′ North
Longitude (approximate): 75° 12.20′ West
On-Water Recovery: Unknown/Not applicable
Shoreline Cleanup: Unknown/Not applicable
Dispersants: Unknown/Not applicable
In-Situ Burn: Unknown/Not applicable
Bioremediation: Applied