EPA: No Way To Capture Fuel Leaked Into Missouri River
Author: Selam Gebrekidan
Fuel leaked from Enterprise Products Partners' natural gas liquids pipeline into the Missouri River in Iowa has dissipated or evaporated with little chance of recovery, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Tuesday.
The leak sprung in a 10 mile stretch of Enterprise's Conway North 33,600-barrels-per-day pipeline, which extends between Nebraska and Iowa.
The line was carrying up to 140,000 gallons of natural gasoline, a volatile liquid hydrocarbon derived from natural gas, when controllers detected a pressure drop on the line and shut down operations on Saturday.
Enterprise's Conway North line is the latest in a string of pipeline accidents in a year, many of which -- like the leaks from Enbridge Inc's two crude lines last summer and the 1,000 barrels of crude oil spilled from Exxon Mobil's Silvertip pipeline in July -- have raised serious environmental concerns.
There is no 'real way' of capturing fuel released into the Missouri River according to the EPA.
"This is an environmental concern but there has been no evidence of fish killed yet," Chris Whitley, a spokesman with EPA's Region 7 office said.
Enterprise contractors will dive into the river Tuesday to locate the specific point of the leak, according to the EPA.
The company has collected 150,000 gallons of fluid from the pipeline following the leak, 80 percent of which was river water, Whitley said.
"We've determined that the leak is in the floodplains which usually are not underwater," Whitley said adding floods in the region have inundated the area, which is now covered with fast-moving water 5 to 10 feet high.
Enterprise has not yet determined whether the leak is linked to scouring, damage to pipelines caused by debris and other floating matter carried by floods.
EPA has assigned a coordinator on site to monitor the cleanup, Whitley added.
(Editing by Alden Bentley)