Superfund Site Profile


The Butler Mine Tunnel located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania was constructed in the 1930s to provide mine drainage for an estimated five-square-mile area of underground coal mines. The Butler Mine Tunnel drains into the Susquehanna River. The Site was caused by the illegal disposal of liquid industrial wastes, including oily wastes, into underground mine areas via a mine ventilation borehole which was located at the Hi-Way Auto Service (HWAS) station in Pittston, PA. In 1979, an oily discharge coming from the tunnel created an oil slick on the Susquehanna River. The oil contamination was traced to the illegal dumping at the HWAS borehole. The HWAS borehole was found to drain into underground mine areas which are part of the 5-square miles of underground mine areas for which drainage is provided by the Butler Mine Tunnel. The HWAS borehole is located approximately 3.5 miles from the outlet of the Butler Mine Tunnel into the Susquehanna River. Approximately 25,000 people live within a five-mile radius of the site, and approximately 1,400 people live within the boundaries of the Butler Mine Tunnel site. Also, a number of schools are located within one-mile of the tunnel's discharge point. This site was added to the National Priority List (NPL) on July 22, 1987.