Published: Sun, January 29, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Crews cleaning up diesel spill from pipeline leak in Iowa

Crews cleaning up diesel spill from pipeline leak in Iowa

Magellan said its representatives along with environmental and cleanup professionals are making "significant progress" in recovering diesel fuel in the immediate area. The company brought vacuum trucks to handle the diesel, which will be brought to the company's terminal in Clear Lake.

Officials were still investigating the cause Wednesday afternoon.

Thus far, it's been reported that cleanup crews have sucked up about 25,000 gallons of diesel and a slush-diesel mixture from the pipeline that broke north of Hanlontown. A 2014 safety plan submitted to Magellan by the US Department of Transportation says that a number of refined oil products are carried through the pipeline, "including Diesel, Gasoline, Jet fuel, Natural gasoline, Naptha, Propane, Natural Gas (and) Butane". It leaked onto private agricultural land, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources official said Wednesday.

High wind and blowing snow were complicating cleanup efforts, he said.

Tom Byers, Manager of Government and Media Affairs for Magellan Mainstream Partners, said, "There will be an investigation on what caused release and what can be learned from this to try and help us and ensure this doesn't happen again". In fact, just last October, a pipe ruptured that was carrying anhydrous ammonia, leaving one person dead and forcing 23 households to evacuate. "We do not expect this incident to disrupt supply of gasoline, diesel and other refined petroleum products in the region".

The leak has been contained, Heine said. And back in 2010, Magellan paid a $46,200 penalty for violating the Clean Water Act, after about 5,000 gallons of diesel spilled into a creek near Milford, Iowa. The fuel was on its was to Mason City when it spilled near Hanlontown, he said.

MMP, which owns almost 11K miles of hazardous liquid pipelines, has experienced 218 accidents and 40 enforcement cases against it for pipeline safety violations, according to an Associated Press count. Those accidents spilled more than 832,000 gallons of petroleum products.

The leak comes at a time when President Donald Trump has vowed to renew construction on both of those massive pipeline projects, which have been held up by government regulators after vigorous protests from environmentalists and Native American groups. That works out to around one inspector for every 5,000 miles of pipe.

The incident illustrates that petroleum pipelines are risky, said pipeline critic Ed Fallon, director of Bold Iowa, a coalition fighting the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipeline projects.

Magellan has been responsive to the leak, Vansteenburg said. Serious incidents include a fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization.

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