On March 29th, Cattaraugus County Concerned Citizens became aware that a report of an oil leak had come in to the office of Olean Mayor Linda Witte. The location of the leak is at the head of a small tributary stream that flows along Blakeslee Hollow Road and into the Olean Creek a half mile north of Olean's Water Treatment plant (see maps below). After some investigation, CCCC learned that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was involved with clean-up efforts at the site around the time the Mayor's office was first notified. Dale Walker, Senior Manager at the city's Water Filtration plant, told CCCC that there was visible oil in the Olean Creek behind the treatment facility when the incident first occurred. The plant was briefly shut down until DEC told the city's water chief that the spill was mostly contained.
On April 13, the Olean Times Herald reported that DEC believes a proper clean-up has taken place, and only five gallons of oil were spilled. However, on April 12 and April 16 CCCC observed a large quantity of oil remaining in the stream, including oil on the stream banks leading from the site for over a mile.
CCCC is currently involved in baseline water testing of local stream systems. The water quality testing program is a partnership with Sierra Club and the Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring designed to help find pollution from oil and gas drilling sites. There are over one thousand oil wells in the town of Olean, and over two dozen wells are located immediately upstream from the City's water filtration plant, near the site of this spill.