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Published: Friday, 3/24/2006

Gasoline pipe leaks into creek

BY TAD VEZNER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A broken British Petroleum gas pipeline yesterday released thousands of gallons of petroleum into a West Toledo creek near a residential area before the spill was contained.

A portion of the six-inch pipe which runs parallel to and just south of Laskey Road, just east of Bennett Road, began registering pressure problems about 4 a.m. Officials with BP Products North America Inc. said a monitoring site in Tulsa, Okla., noted the problems and shut it down, but not before it spilled about 2,200 gallons of finished product into the area.

The gas in the six-foot-deep, 1956 pipe was in the midst of traveling 14 miles between BP's Toledo Refinery in Oregon to a distribution terminal on Hill Avenue in South Toledo.

Toledo's environmental services division received calls from area residents about 8:15 a.m. reporting a bad smell, said Tim Murphy, the division's chief of water resources.

Air in the area was tested for fumes, which were found to be at benign levels. No residents were evacuated.

Most of the product leaked into and floated on the surface of Shantee Creek. Shantee flows into Silver Creek, which empties into Lake Erie. Containment booms were set up at several points along Shantee Creek, and authorities said the gas was halted by a dam at Stickney Avenue, about 1 1/2 miles from the leak.

Gregory DeBrock, area operations manager for BP, said last night that crews still had yet to determine the exact location or cause of the leak. He said crews would be working through the weekend to determine the extent of ground contamination.

Mike Gerber, emergency response on-scene coordinator for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, believed most of the product leaked into the creek, rather than spread through the ground, given the proximity of the estimated location of the leak to the creek.

EPA officials said BP will need to dig out all contaminated soil, suck the gas from the water with vacuum trucks, and remove all contaminated debris from the creek.

"They're going to be here awhile," said Michelle Jaster, on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tom Koch, a BP spokesman, said the company anticipated no gas shortages for area BP stations.



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