24-inch Crude Oil Pipeline Ruptures in Kentucky: up tp 21,000 barrels of oil spilled

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We were warned prior to rollover about possible embedded systems failures that could cause infrastructure problems of this type. There was a major oli pipeline rupture in Brazil earlier this month as well. No cause for this major rupture has been determined.

24-inch Crude Oil Pipeline Ruptures in Kentucky; Cleanup Could Take Days or Weeks

Winchester, KY, United States

1/27/2000 The pipeline, owned by Marathon Ashland Petroleum (MAP) ruptured Thursday afternoon (1/27/2000), releasing oil into Two Mile Creek about two miles southwest of Winchester.

Company officials estimated early today that between 11,500 and 21,000 barrels of oil were lost.

More than 2,200 barrels of an oil and water mix have been recovered so far, the company said.

About 100 Ashland employees and environmental specialists will continue clean-up operations over the weekend.

State officials advised people livning next ot or near the creek to extinguish any indoor or outdoor fires, to keep people and animals away from the creek and to avoid using spring or well water from the area.

At least five families were evacuated to a nearby motel, MAP spokesman Troy Reynolds said. The company housed any individuals who were concerned even though a formal evacuation was not ordered.

The pipeline carries oil from Owensboro, in western Kentucky, to a refinery in Catlettsburg, in eastern Kentucky.

MAP is a joint venture between Ashland and Marathon Oil.

Reynolds said the pipeline is typically buried up to six feet deep. It was unclear how far down workers had to dig to get to the break, he said.

Spokesman Chuck Rice said officials at the pipeline's control center in Findlay, Ohio, noticed a pressure drop in the pipeline in the middle of the afternoon Thursday _ around the same time fire officials in Clark County were getting their first phone calls from local residents.

Rice said the company dispatched teams from Louisville and Findlay to assess damage and assist with cleanup. He said it was not immediately clear how much oil had leaked or what caused the rupture.

Weiler said the spill occurred near the fifth green of the South Wind Golf Course, with oil oozing up from underground and into Two Mile Creek, a tributary of the Kentucky River that meanders through lightly populated farmland.

Weiler said the oil went about a mile down the creek before it was contained by cleanup crews. Rice said the crews deployed booms and were building three earthen dams to keep the oil from moving further downstream. Weiler was one of about three dozen to four dozen people on the scene overnight Thursday, including state and local officials and cleanup contractors who were using vacuum trucks to suck up the spilled oil and put it into tanker trucks.

Though the creek was not frozen, single-digit winter weather made it slower-moving than normal, Logan Weiler of the state emergency management agency said.

``We're just lucky that it's right now, when the stream bed is just sitting there with some pools in it and isn't flowing hard,'' Weiler said. ``If it was flowing hard, you would have had a real problem.''

Weiler said no major sources of drinking water were threatened by the oil, which he said would have had to reach the Kentucky River, and go another quarter-mile before reaching the intake for Winchester's municipal water supply.

Rice said a precautionary boom was being erected where Two Mile Creek enters the Kentucky River to keep any oil that might get that far from reaching the river. Weiler said officials were focused more on containment than figuring out what happened.

``We didn't even mess with the pipeline,'' he said. ``Stop the flow, get it contained. We'll look at it tomorrow to see why it happened and where it happened.''


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), January 28, 2000


Very interesting, Carl. I'm anxious to find out more.

An old friend whose father has oil interests, told me that their pipeline is down too and they're extremely concerned. It's the Laurel pipeline stretching from NY to PA.

You can imagine the possible scenarios that are running through my mind. Is it a pipeline explosion like those in the Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Rio, Columbia? If only we could finally say that it isn't Y2k.

My friend said there's also a shipping problem in the NY port. Sorry, I don't have explicit details. We only talked briefly in a social setting, but he, of all people, would know the ins and outs of the company's problems.

When I questioned my friend two years ago about the readiness of his BP/Shell line, he adamantly denied that Y2k was even an issue. Spoken like a true company man. Hmm.

-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), January 29, 2000.

I think what is most telling is that none of the news services have picked this story up. AP had it, but it was buried in regional. I have searched the cnn, cnbc, etc. sites and there is no mention of this major oil spill, one of the largest on land in recent memory.

-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), January 29, 2000.

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