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Soapy Suds in Black Creek Spark Investigation

BLACK CREEK TOWNSHIP -- Environmental officials investigated a soap-like substance that was dumped or leaked into Black Creek near Hazleton.

"The creek was clean, people were actually fishing in it and now this happens, it's a shame, it's polluting,” said Charlene Hoffman who lives in Black Creek Township.

The suds were piled in mounds, stuck in trees, on grass, and floating down roadways on Black Creek.

In some cases, drivers pulled over to snap pictures, shocked by what they saw.

Some people living in the area are furious and worried.

"It is everywhere. Cars couldn't even drive up here around the bend because it was going across the road, they were slamming on the brakes,” said Amanda Watkins of Black Creek Township.

Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection said they have taken samples of the substance and they believe it to be soap.

They are testing it and hope to know what it is soon.

They also say they think the suds came from Henkel Consumer Products Plant near Hazleton, formerly known as the Dial plant.

"This is outrageous and something has to be done about it, they should be fined, you know? I mean I don't know. The kids? I've been telling them don't touch the soap because you don't know what all's in it, chemicals, what? We don't know? And how dangerous is it for everyone who lives around here?" said Hoffman.

A spokeswoman from Henkel Corporation released a statement to Newswatch 16 which reads, in part:

"We were informed by the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority of a potential leak in the common shared sewer system. We have isolated our effluent system while we investigate the integrity of our pipelines."

"They should have to pay however much it takes to do whatever they need to do to clean it up. I just think it's a total disgrace, it's gross, you don't know what's floating around. Yeah, we assume it's soap but you can’t be sure what's in it and the kids are out here and you don't know what you're breathing in,” said Tammy Mummey of Black Creek Township.

A supervisor in Black Creek Township said that she had received a lot of calls from angry and worried residents about what is happening with the creek.

She said what could be a clean and beautiful asset to the community just gets polluted again and again.

"People were actually fishing in here and catching fish, like nice fish, now forget it. They're all gonna die,” said Mummey.

Talkback 16 Online Discussion:

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11 comments

  • Ryan

    This river has had this issue for decades. At one time, when it was Dial corporation, they used to release soap into the river several times a year going many years back. The people being interviewed make interesting comments because every summer that river has a sewage smell emanating from it. But that would make sense because a sewage treatment plant drains out into it from Hazleton. No one seems to show concern about that though.

  • Dan

    So first off no one actually knows yet what it is. Second the company they believe responsible is saying it only could have come from the sewer system if it is from them so why is everyone jumping the gun? I get it no one wants a polluted creek but you need to wait and see what it is and where it came from before you get pissed.

  • The Peeps

    Disgusting. So glad I buy my soap from a seller online who makes it at home. Coconut oil based, with other essential oils, castor oil, etc. instead of mass-produced toxic gunk that clogs your pores and apparently pollutes our creeks. YUCK.

  • WAYNE S

    Good coal region bathwater. i bet some in girardville wish this type of soap came up in the mahanoy creek. No doubt this is a lot better then the acid rust water used for everyday bathing.

  • warningfakenews

    Mother nature is awesome at cleaning up messes like this. Unfortunately, with modern life and conveniences, sometimes accidents happen.

    If you want affordable laundry detergent and cleaning products, the occasional mistake will occur. “Life’s messy, clean it up” and nature is working on that right now.

  • Stop the interviews

    Please – stop the interviews. After each one I have to go back and read another section in an encyclopedia just to keep my IQ from dropping. Are these people for real?

  • Nana

    The only way to make this anything less horrible would be to round up most of the residents in the Poconos and throw them in for a bath. Seems to be a lack of soap at the local Walmart.

  • Me

    Soap is very hazardous to fish and it getting by a sewer plant is easy but not a practice. They probably had a leak that was uncaught and can happen. A lot of companies had cuts and most employees don’t know where the shut off gates are. Just a thought from an employee north of border.