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Pipeline leaks 42,000 gallons of diesel into Indiana river

26 March 2018

Forty-two thousand gallons of diesel spilled from a Marathon Petroleum Corporation pipeline at Posey Creek, Indiana before the leak was detected on March 20, US News & World Report reported. The pipeline was immediately shut off, and workers contained the spill with two booms before it reached the Wabash River.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the spill made it four miles downriver before being contained by booms, and that no fish deaths or other wildlife impacts had been reported.

Efforts are now underway to recover the fuel, a process that should take about a week, with some 60% recovered by skimming. The remainder is expected to evaporate or be absorbed in the booms.

The pipeline carries refined products from the Marathon refinery in Robinson, Illinois to its terminal on the Ohio River in Mount Vernon, Indiana.

This is the second time a Marathon pipeline has leaked in the area. In April 2016, 48,300 gallons of oil spilled into the Wabash River from a pipeline near Mount Carmel, Illinois, near the Indiana border.

That leak was caused by the fact that erosion had exposed the pipeline, which had been buried beneath the river, to the river bottom itself.

A Marathon spokesperson said that the cause of the current spill was unknown, but investigations are underway with help from the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety.

The spill comes as pipelines are under increasing scrutiny in North America. In 2016, the science website Undark reported that there had been more than 1,300 crude oil spills from pipelines in the US since 2010, averaging one every other day.

While pipelines lead to fewer spills than transporting oil by rail, the other overland option, the Congressional Research Service, the US State Department, International Energy Agency and the Fraser Institute found that pipeline spills release more crude into the environment, Business Insider reported.

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