Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 12, 2007
 
Contact: Robyn Ziegler
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)
rziegler@atg.state.il.us
 

MADIGAN FILES SUIT OVER PIPELINE, TERMINAL SPILLS

Chicago - Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a suit on March 6, 2007 against the owners of a petroleum pipeline and storage terminals in Illinois where leaks and spills have occurred over a period of several years. 

According to Madigan’s suit, the most recent incident took place at the Macon County gasoline terminal owned by Buckeye Partners, L.P. and its subsidiary, Buckeye Pipe Line Holdings, L.P.  The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, names both companies as defendants. The companies own storage terminals in Harristown, Hartford and Chillicothe.

In June 2006, more than 140,000 gallons of gasoline were released during the time of day when operations at the Harristown Terminal were not supervised or monitored.  During this time valves were reportedly opened at a loading rack, allowing gasoline to flow into a pipe that, according to Madigan’s suit, had not been properly capped and taken out of service.  The spilled gasoline pooled in the containment area around several tanks at the terminal, seeped into the ground, contaminating the groundwater, and then moved through drainage tiles to a tributary of the Sangamon River.  The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) assisted local authorities in investigating the spill and cleanup.  The IEPA referred the matter to Madigan’s office shortly after the spill was discovered. 

“The release at Harristown presented a serious situation that required considerable time and expense by authorities to clean up, and to test private wells in the vicinity to ensure public safety,” Madigan said. 

Madigan’s complaint also describes a release of several thousands of gallons of diesel in November 2005, when an above ground storage tank was being filled at Buckeye Partner’s Hartford Terminal in Madison County.  The complaint also describes a November 2006 diesel release at Buckeye Partner’s Chillicothe terminal in Peoria County. 

Additionally, the complaint identifies several gasoline spills that allegedly resulted from the deteriorated condition of some of the pipeline that Buckeye Partners acquired from previous owners. 

These incidents include:

  • August 2003: A failure in a weld on a section of pipeline that passes under Truitt Road, west of Chillicothe, in Peoria County, resulted in the release of approximately 4,200 barrels of diesel, killing fish in a nearby pond and creek.

  • February 2004: A small amount of diesel was released near Knoxville and discovered by a resident who observed the fuel in a tributary of Court Creek.

  • Three releases were discovered in and around Mazon in Grundy County. In July 2002, city workers in Mazon discovered a small leak in the pipeline as they were repairing a water line near a section of pipeline.   In November 2003, corrosion in a section of pipeline allegedly caused the release of approximately five barrels of gasoline.  Only days later, another leak occurred when the pipeline was restarted following repairs on the initial leak.

Madigan’s suit seeks a court order under the federal Oil Pollution Act and the Illinois Oil Spill Responders Liability Act requiring Buckeye Partners to reimburse the IEPA for costs it incurred and continues to incur for the cleanup of all of the releases.  The complaint also alleges that the releases caused or threatened water pollution in violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act. 

Senior Assistant Attorney General James Morgan is handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.

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