Cold Weather Helped Minimize Environmental Damage From Eagan Gas Spill

January 10, 2018 10:21 PM

After more than 20,000 gallons of gasoline spilled out of a broken pipeline in Eagan Monday, clean up began immediately.

It appears the recent cold weather helped stop the leak from becoming worse.


RELATED: Pipeline Restarted After Eagan Gasoline Leak

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is monitoring the clean up, which is the responsibility of pipeline owner Magellan Midstream Partners, LLP.

On Monday, Magellan said a contractor the company hired accidentally struck and broke open a gasoline pipeline that runs from Rosemount to Minneapolis.

RELATED: Eagan Lifetime Fitness to Reopen After Gasoline Leak

The break occurred near Thomas Lake Road and Cliff Road. Several businesses and a nearby residential neighborhood were evacuated, but no one was injured.

Magellan, in a written statement Wednesday, said the air quality is considered safe and those businesses and homeowners are now back to their normal routines.

"Progress continues with clean up operations at the release site in Eagan and will for the foreseeable future. Magellan representatives and environmental specialists are on-site monitoring air quality readings, which remain safe", the company said.

RELATED: Cleanup of Eagan Gasoline Leak to Continue Into Tuesday

Jason Moran of the MPCA emergency response team said the extremely cold weather as of late actually had a positive effect.

"The frozen ground was significant enough that a lot of the gasoline did not seep into the ground water," Moran said. "And so crews are able to scrape off that bad soil and haul it away.

"Any gasoline that did go deeper than the frost line is now being evaporated with special equipment - which are rods that go below the frost line and then are used to evaporate the gasoline."

RELATED: 500 Barrels of Gasoline Leak After Pipeline Ruptures in Eagan, Company Says

Moran said because the ground was frozen and there was snow, much of the gasoline created a runoff that was captured by storm drains and then easily contained, isolated and removed as well.

Mark Cherne said he watched the gasoline pouring out of the pipeline from his office window at work, which was only about 20 yards from the origin of the break.

"It looked like water coming out of the line," Cherne said. "And then you quickly realized it was something else when firefighters showed up in oxygen masks and people were being asked to evacuate.

"Then you could smell it outside, and you knew someone made a boo-boo, and thankfully no one was hurt. As I jokingly told my wife, if it went boom, I would have died a split second before the guy sitting next to me."

The Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety said it is now investigating the accident, but declined to comment further because it is an open investigation.

The MPCA said the clean up, helped by warmer temperatures in recent days, should be finished in the next couple weeks.


Jay Kolls

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