Cleanup efforts were underway on 26 January 2017, after a pipeline rupture in Worth County, Iowa spilled nearly 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel onto private farmland.

Officials maintained no waterways were affected by the spill, the cause of which was not immediately known:

Crews are at work to recover 138,600 gallons of diesel fuel that leaked from a pipeline [on 25 January 2017] in Worth County, a Magellan Pipeline company official said Thursday morning.

But officials could not say how long the cleanup process will take.

The cause of the pipeline leak was still unknown [on 26 January 2017], said Tom Byers, spokesman for Magellan Midstream Partners LP, which owns the Magellan Pipeline running through part of northern Iowa.

There have been no injuries or evacuations associated with the pipeline leak, and the situation is not an active threat to public health, Worth County Sheriff Dan Frank said Thursday morning. The leak has been contained, and no diesel fuel has reached waterways, Byers said.

NPR cited a local affiliate reporting that vacuum trucks were deployed to recover the fuel before contaminated soil was identified and removed:

Clay Masters of Iowa Public Radio reported diesel leaking from a 12-inch underground pipe was initially spotted in a farm field in north-central Worth County, Iowa, on [25 January 2017 in the] morning. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Natural Resources joined representatives of Magellan and other local officials at the site, Masters reported.

“It’s a big one — it’s significant,” Jeff Vansteenburg of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told the Des Moines Register.

“The product is under pressure, so as soon as a leak develops, it starts coming out pretty fast,” Vansteenburg said at a news conference. “Vacuum trucks are sucking up as much liquid as they can and taking that down to Magellan’s terminal. … Once they’ve recovered all the free product that they can then they will go in and remove contaminated soil.”

Vansteenburg said the diesel had not reached nearby Willow Creek or a wildlife protection area.

While the pipeline leak’s cause remains under investigation, the affected portion has been taken out of service, and repairs are expected to begin shortly. As of 25 January 2017, crews on the scene of the leak had recaptured “about 25,000 gallons of diesel and a slush-diesel mixture.”


Bunge, Mike.   “Company Says Pipeline Leak in North Iowa Is Contained.”
    KIMT.   26 January 2017.

Haley, Charly.   “Iowa Pipeline Spill Cleanup Begins; Cause of Leak Still Unknown.”
    Des Moines Register.   26 January 2017.

Hersher, Rebecca.   “Iowa Pipeline Leaks Nearly 140,000 Gallons of Diesel.”
    NPR.   26 January 2017.

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