If there was ever a question in your mind about why the DAPL protests are going on, here is your answer. On Friday, a broken pipeline in Pennsylvania dumped 55,000 gallons of gasoline into the Susquehanna River.
Director of public works for Lancaster, Charlotte Katzenmoyer, said in a statement that it is unclear whether or not the local drinking water supplies have been contaminated.
“With the amount that spilled, we certainly could see some impact on our intake along the Susquehanna River, We’ll continue to monitor it,” Katzenmoyer said.
Randy Gockley, director of the Lancaster Emergency Management Agency added that, “Certainly it’s something to be concerned about. We don’t know yet the speed it will travel down the river.”
“I’m sure they’re dealing with high velocity water flows because of the flooding. My gut tells me it will take a few days to reach us, but I can’t say that for sure. This far downstream, it’s hard to know,” he said.
Sunoco Logistics, the company in charge of the pipeline, estimated that 1,300 barrels of gas, amounting to roughly 55,000 gallons spilled into Wallis Run.
The Department of Environmental Protection voiced concerns about the potential for drinking water contamination.
“Sunoco Logistics emergency response crews are in the process of containment and collection efforts following a release of gasoline from an 8-inch pipeline in the vicinity of Wallis Run near the intersection of Wallis Run Road and Butternut Grove Road in Gamble Township, Lycoming County. Wallis Run is a tributary of the Loyalsock Creek.
The area received heavy rainfall overnight, resulting in flash floods, landslides and riverbank erosion. Crews will use skimmers to remove gasoline from the top of affected waterways and will erect containment booms downstream.
A drop in pressure in the pipeline was detected by the Sunoco Logistics Control Center shortly after 3 a.m. Friday, October 21. The pipeline was shut down and emergency response personnel were dispatched to the scene. Federal, state, county and local officials were notified and a Unified Command Center was established at the nearby Eldred Township Volunteer Fire Company. The agencies on scene include: Federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Safety and environmental crews are meeting with affected residents. Residents who have been impacted by the release can call a Sunoco Logistics representative at 1-800-759-5644.”
This spill comes at a time of great controversy for pipelines, with many rupturing this year and a massive protest surrounding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“Since 2010, over 3,300 incidents of crude oil and liquefied natural gas leaks or ruptures have occurred on U.S. pipelines. These incidents have killed 80 people, injured 389 more, and cost $2.8 billion in damages. They also released toxic, polluting chemicals in local soil, waterways, and air.”
According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, these spills and ruptures released over 7 million gallons of crude.”