Cleanup continues after Romeoville oil leak

September 13, 2010 4:14:13 AM PDT
Work continued Friday evening to repair and clean up the oil leak in the southwest suburbs that happened when a pipeline ruptured in Romeoville. It was a major crude oil pipeline that ruptured. Enbridge Pipeline 6A is responsible for delivering about 7 percent of the crude oil that is imported into the United States every year. That section of pipe has been shut down. There are valves at three-mile intervals, and they were turned off Thursday to stop the flow of oil.

Friday, there was still oil in the section with the leak and natural pressure was pushing 200 to 600 barrels of crude to the surface.

However, the leak is contained, and the oil was being vacuumed into recovery trucks.

Earlier, some of the oil earlier got into the sanitary system in Romeoville and made it as far as a water treatment plant.

There was no evidence Friday evening that the oil had gotten into a stream nearby.

The hope is that the oil lines can be sucked out so the pipeline owner, Enbridge, can start digging to find the leak and begin repairs that may occur by Monday. The immediate concern is that some oil has gathered in a nearby reception pond, and any rainfall could cause that to overflow.

"There is a significant amount and it was contained and not discharged to any waterway at this point. But that threat is still there, and that could potentially occur again this weekend," said Sam Borries of US EPA Region 5.

"Any notion to how long it will take for the final week will be repaired and back open?" ABC7 asked.

"It is too early to anticipate how long it will take," said Enbridge's Gina Jordan. "We'll probably have a better estimate in a day or so."

There are 10 businesses in the industrial park where the leak occurred that are closed down, including a food pantry. Other operations have slowed down, as well, but the pipeline is reopened and they have to dig, find the leak, repair it, and get regulatory approval, and that will take some time. They all have to sign off on it, and a sister pipeline in Michigan that belongs to Enbridge burst back in late July has yet to reopen.

With this major pipeline now shut down, oil prices have shot upward, and that translates to the pump everywhere. On Thursday, the price of a gallon of regular at one station was 2.82. In one day it went up 17 cents.

For additional information on the school district, please contact the Valley View School District at (815) 886-2700.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.


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