21 Aug 2014
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Mokena Oil Tank Leak Under Investigation

U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is investigating the cause of an oil tank leak at the Chicap Mokena Terminal, which is operated by BP Oil. Enbridge Inc., of Calgary, Alberta is the distributor.

Mokena Oil Tank Leak Under Investigation Mokena Oil Tank Leak Under Investigation Mokena Oil Tank Leak Under Investigation

Cleanup continued through the weekend after 900 barrels of crude oil leaked from a storage tank at BP Oil-Enbridge Storage in unincorporated Mokena.

The leak of crude oil, destined for Superior, Wis., was discovered in the afternoon of Nov. 20 at the storage facility on Wolf Road at 184th Street.  According to Larry Springer, Enbridge Inc. spokesperson, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration was notified of the accident.

The cause of the accident was due to a "failure on the line," said Springer, speaking on behalf of Calgary, Alberta-based crude oil distributor.

A definite leak of 37,800 gallons of crude oil was confirmed to have escaped from an "infrequently used Enbridge tankage line" on Nov. 21, said Springer. The leak was contained to a dike that surrounds the tank. The surface oil has been sopped up, but crews are currently working to collect the drenched soil surrounding the dike.

According to an Enbridge press release, "The situation does not pose a health or safety risk to the community." However, some nearby residents have commented on Patch that they fear they may have been exposed to harmful chemicals.

Springer reiterated that "all of the oil was contained entirely within one of the storage tank dikes inside the facility, and all the visible oil within the tank dike has now been recovered."

State of Cleanup

While the soil continues to be collected, the main focus of attention is monitoring the situation for volatile organic compounds.

There are detection monitors along the perimeter of the facility, including one that faces the neighboring subdivision on the northwest edge of the plant near Wolf Road, he said. So far, there has been "zero" evidence of volatile chemical releases in the air.

The monitors are set to detect releases of hydrocarbons, benzene, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide, according to Springer. In addition, the crews are using standard Lower Explosion Limits (LEL) monitors to detect the presence of combustible gas or vapor.

Cleanup could stretch for days, he said. "It's moving along nicely. On Monday (Nov. 26) you can expect to see a lot of trucks moving in and out of the terminal," caring the contaminated soil to a designated hazardous waste facility.

The site won't be declared "clean" until official state agencies, such as the Illinois EPA, sign off on the process, said Springer.

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