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Health, Science, Environment

Edwardsville pipeline leaked an estimated 165,000 gallons of oil. Some flowed into a creek

An arial photograph showing of a greenish-brown Cahokia Creek with streaks of black oil in it and along its banks.
Brian Popp
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An Edwardsville pipeline operated by energy company Marathon Pipe Line leaked oil on Friday, some of which flowed into Cahokia Creek. A citizen captured this image of the creek with a drone camera at 1 p.m. Friday.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has asked the Attorney General to enforce cleanup and other action by energy company Marathon Pipe Line after an estimated 165,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from its pipeline in Edwardsville, some of which flowed into a creek, according to the state agency.

The oil leak started Friday morning in Edwardsville near Illinois 143 and Old Alton Edwardsville Road and entered Cahokia Creek, which is parallel to the pipeline.

The cause of the leak was not immediately clear. Marathon wrote in a statement Saturday that an investigation will be conducted.

The company stated that it shut down the pipeline when it detected the leak Friday morning and that cleanup efforts have been underway since. It added that no injuries have been reported, air monitoring has detected no hazardous level of emissions and no water intakes or private wells are located “in the immediate vicinity” of the leak.

“Additional personnel and equipment are en route to the location to assist in cleanup activities,” Marathon stated. “We are working with local, state and federal agencies as we respond.

“MPL’s top priorities are to ensure the safety of responders, the community and to limit environmental impact as we respond to the release and conduct cleanup activities.”

031122_bnd_oilspill_2.jpeg
Brian Popp
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A citizen captured this image of Cahokia Creek and surrounding area with a drone camera around 5 p.m. Friday, hours after the oil spill was reported.

The city of Edwardsville announced at 11:45 a.m. Friday that its fire department and teams from the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, Madison County Hazmat, Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery and Marathon were all responding to the site of the oil leak. The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency that investigates “hazardous pipeline events” and other issues, also said it sent a team of investigators to Edwardsville.

Residents reported a strong smell of gas, and the city said in an update Friday afternoon that the odor was a result of the leak.

By 5:30 p.m. Friday, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency provided the initial estimate that 3,000 barrels, or 165,000 gallons, of oil were released from the pipeline.

The state EPA asked the Attorney General’s office to ensure that Marathon removes all oil in any affected waterway, assesses the pipeline and repairs it as necessary, investigates the extent of the spill to both soil and groundwater and submits and implements a corrective action plan as necessary.

Full statement from the energy company, provided Saturday morning:

“Marathon Pipe Line (MPL) is responding to a release of crude oil near Edwardsville, Illinois, from an MPL pipeline.

Upon detecting the release Friday morning, March 11, MPL shut down the pipeline and deployed response resources.

Crude oil reached the Cahokia diversion channel, and MPL has deployed boom at several locations along the channel to contain it.

No injuries have been reported.

MPL has deployed air monitoring in the area as a precaution, and has detected no hazardous level of emissions.

There are no water intakes or private wells in the immediate vicinity of the release.

MPL resources deployed to the area for cleanup activities include boom, vacuum trucks, skimmers, and excavating equipment. Additional personnel and equipment are en route to the location to assist in cleanup activities.

We are working with local, state and federal agencies as we respond.

MPL’s top priorities are to ensure the safety of responders, the community and to limit environmental impact as we respond to the release and conduct cleanup activities.

An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the release.”


Lexi Cortes is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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