MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. – A pipeline spill that dumped 48,000 gallons of diesel into a river that forms the border of southern Illinois and Indiana has had no effect on wildlife, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official said Tuesday.
The Wabash River is at about flood stage and the enormous volume of water is helping dilute the fuel, which is expected to be undetectable by the time it reaches the Mississippi River later Tuesday, EPA on-scene co-ordinator Kevin Turner said.
Marathon Pipe Line LLC is investigating whether the fuel is from its network and has shut down its Two Rivers pipeline system, which crosses under the Wabash River at Mount Carmel, Illinois. The pipeline delivers fuel from a refinery in Robinson, Illinois, to a terminal in Mount Vernon, Indiana, on the Ohio River.
The fuel sheen was first spotted Sunday near Mount Carmel and quickly spread to the Ohio River. There was no word on what caused the leak.
Authorities are monitoring the fuel plume’s movement and notifying water intake facilities along the rivers to protect drinking water supplies as needed, Turner said. Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Pipe Line said there has been no impact to drinking water.
The speed of the water channeled the contamination downriver and prevented it from settling in backwaters where it might have harmed wildlife, but that also made it impossible to contain or collect the fuel, Turner said.
“The stuff is flying. It is absolutely flying,” he said.
Crews tried twice to put a boom in the water, but it got washed out. And the force of the water even bent a 50-pound anchor meant to hold the boom in place, Turner said.