US' East Coast Gas Pipeline Choked By Massive Leak In Alabama

Colonial Pipeline Co, the operator of the largest pipeline system in the USA for refined products, has suffered a leak in a pipeline that supplies the East Coast.
Colonial Pipeline Right of Way in a remote section of Shelby County, Alabama. 5 photos
Photo: Helena Colonial Pipeline Response
Colonial Pipeline Right of Way in a remote section of Shelby County, Alabama.Local emergency responders onsite command post.Inline plugging device used to isolate pipeline segment for recovery efforts.Response personnel improving road access to facilitate recovery efforts.
The leak sprung in Shelby County, Alabama, and is the largest spill the line in two decades. Approximately 250,000 gallons of gas were leaked, which is the rough equivalent of 6,000 barrels.

Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama has declared a state of emergency on September 15, 2016. The company that operates the pipeline has published a release on its website, which said that it is making endeavors that will alleviate the impact of the event.

The leak was discovered on September 9, 2016, by a mining inspector. Only one of the two pipelines operated by the company were leaking, but both were shut down as a precautionary measure.

Some refuel stations in the area might run out of certain grades of gasoline. When the service is restarted, fuel prices might rise by a couple of cents per gallon for a short while.

The estimated 6,000-8,000 barrels of gas that were spilled have been contained in a nearby mine water retention pond. The Colonial Pipeline Company says that there is no threat to public health or safety, but some restrictions have been raised in the area.

The federal government has restricted the airspace above the site of the leak, so that the responders, which add up to approximately 700 contractors and employees, could work safely.

At the moment, the company is working to minimize and prevent the environmental impact of the leak. They will have to skim the gasoline from the mine water retention pond, so that it does not pose a hazard to a nearby dry creek bed.

While the repair of Line 1 is in progress, the company is also exploring alternatives, which might even include the construction of a segment of pipeline around the leak, which would allow the line to return to operation as fast and safe as possible.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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