Environmental cleanup continues, but no immediate threat remains from gas pipeline leak



Girard TWP. — Officials left many questions unanswered Wednesday about a break in a 10-inch oil pipeline that poured about 8,400 gallons of gasoline into a farm eight miles north of Coldwater. They said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that no immediate environmental threat remains.

BP line operators received a signal indicating a leak at 9:30pm on Tuesday. Branch County Emergency Manager Tim Miner said the flow stopped at 9:33 p.m.

Minor said BP’s response team came to the scene and manually closed “several valves.”

Gasoline was found in a field 300 feet west of Bell Road, across from the Potawatomi Campground entrance at 1117 Bell Road.

BP responders removed approximately 3,000 additional gallons of gasoline that remained in the pipeline.

BP, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, the Michigan State Police, the Branch County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Management arrived overnight. Tekonsha and Coldwater firefighters were on standby.

The road was closed and residents of six homes near the leak were evacuated. Everyone was able to return home by 1pm on Wednesday.

Cesar Rodriguez, BP’s media relations manager, said at a news conference Wednesday night that he had no information on the type or cause of the break in the line that carries petroleum products from the BP Whiting refinery in Indiana to the Rouge River terminal. Ta.

“There are still many unanswered questions,” Rodriguez said.

Miners said there was a strong odor of gas at the site. Gas was visible at the scene, but BP removed the material and the gasoline-soaked ground.

As of 4 p.m., Rodriguez said, “We are flying drones into the area to make sure there are no other areas affected.” Now it has no smell and no shine. ”

There are several lakes and ponds in the immediate vicinity along Hog Creek.

“With the help of the Michigan State Police, we conducted an overflight this morning over surface waters,” said EPA’s Eric Cole. I couldn’t see any product either.” There is also a wetland nearby.

The EPA said air monitoring will continue and soil sampling in the area will continue.

Cole said tests of water and soil in the immediate area, except for the break site, have not shown any contamination from the spill, but testing will continue.

BP will provide bottled water for drinking to the single homeowner closest to the spill site.

Bell Road remains closed to all but homeowners. Miner said there remains a risk of explosion or fire as materials are moved on site by heavy equipment monitored by EGLE.

Cole and Rodriguez said plans to dispose of the contaminants have not yet been finalized.

Rodriguez had not yet determined when the line was last inspected.

No one knows how long the cleanup will take or when the pipeline will be repaired.

Miner and Cole said the operation will continue until all contamination is removed.

BP managers said the closure would have no impact on petrol prices. He did not provide details on how much oil the line would transport.

Standard Oil built the line in the 1970s, according to state records. BP he acquired Standard Oil in the 1990s. Regulators indicate that in most areas the pipes are buried between 5 and 7 feet.

—Contact Don Reid: dReid@Gannett.com.

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