Dallas council wants legal action in half million gallon gasoline spill

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Dallas council wants legal action in half million gallon gasoline spill


By Terri Langford / The Dallas Morning News

Faced with the toughest water-use restrictions in 50 years, and a $12 million bill to build an emergency pipeline, Dallas City Council members demanded to know Wednesday why the city isn't suing a company responsible for a March 9 gasoline spill near Lake Tawakoni.

Because of contamination from the spill, City Manager Ted Benavides last week decreed that water withdrawals from Tawakoni should be suspended indefinitely. The lake, northeast of Dallas, normally supplies almost a third of the city's water supplies.

Since the spill, a potentially carcinogenic gasoline additive, MTBE, has been found in the lake. Mr. Benavides said the city was cutting out use of Tawakoni water until MTBE levels declined, to "ensure that we can deliver safe, dependable, high-quality drinking water to our customers."

In addition to new water-conservation measures - including limits on lawn watering and hosing off of paved areas - the council was asked to approve construction of a pipeline to bring in additional water from Lake Ray Hubbard.

The cost of that project could be $12 million, city officials said.

Some council members said they saw no reason why taxpayers should bear that financial burden. They suggested that the city should pursue legal remedies against Explorer Pipeline Co., the owner and operator of the gas pipleline that broke, spilling a half-million gallons.

"Why should we have taxpayers pay for private industry's mistakes," said council member Laura Miller.

Explorer is a consortium representing several major oil companies, including Chevron, Texaco, Conoco, Marathon, Citgo and Phillips Petroleum.

Company officials have said they are working with the city to resolve any safety questions about water from Lake Tasakoni. Other cities, the company noted, continue to draw water from the lake.


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), April 06, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ