MYNORTHWEST NEWS

More than 30K gallons of gas spill after pipeline leaks in Skagit Co.

Dec 19, 2023, 11:33 AM | Updated: 1:08 pm

gas spill pipeline...

(Photo from Skagit County facebook)

(Photo from Skagit County facebook)

State ecology workers estimate 30,000 gallons of gasoline leaked out of an Olympic Pipeline storage vault in Skagit County after a part failure at the beginning of December.

Early Sunday morning, Federal, State, and Local agencies responded to the gasoline spill near Mount Vernon. That fuel is still being cleaned out of Bulson Creek and Hill Ditch near Conway.

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According to Skagit County officials, an estimated 30,660 gallons of gasoline was released when a pressure-check valve failed. Approximately 5,000 gallons of gasoline remained in the vault.

Currently, Skagit County officials have evaluated 4.4 miles of coastline and have recovered around 7,000 gallons of gasoline from the site.

BP operates the Olympic Pipeline and said an alarm did sound Sunday, with operators shutting off the fuel supply as soon as possible. The Olympic pipeline runs from Blaine to Portland.

One lane of traffic is taking turns on State Route 534 to accommodate the cleanup. Approximately 1,600 feet of absorbent and containment boom has been placed at various locations.

No gasoline has been seen on the Skagit River, and cleanup crews will continue to monitor the water. Air monitoring conducted by the Department of Ecology showed no public health risks associated with the spill at this time.

The spill prompted the precautionary closure of an elementary school on Monday, but it reopened Tuesday.

In 1999, the Olympic Pipeline spilled more than 236,000 gallons (893,360 liters) of gasoline in Bellingham and erupted in a fireball that killed three people.

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“To see another spill of this magnitude from this pipeline is more than extremely disheartening,” Kenneth Clarkson, spokesman for the Pipeline Safety Trust, said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. “This time, we are fortunate that nobody was injured or killed; any spill, and especially one of this size, that happens near our schools and into our treasured waterways and salmon habitat is completely unacceptable.”

The EPA said in an update that people living in the Hill Ditch area may still be seeing some sheen on the water there,. as the gasoline gets trapped by plants.

No injuries to wildlife had been observed, but state ecology officials urge the public to report if they see any animals in distress.

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