UPDATE: Repair work continues after pipeline leak spills about 630 gallons of gasoline in Chattanooga [video, photos]

UPDATE: Repair work continues after pipeline leak spills about 630 gallons of gasoline in Chattanooga [video, photos]

January 11th, 2017 by Steve Johnson in Local Regional News

Colonial pipeline group personnel and emergency workers search for a liquid gas leak along Shoal Creek near the suck Creek boat ramp on Sunday, January 8, 2017.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Gallery: Pipeline leak

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UPDATE: Work continued today to repair a pipeline leak near Chattanooga.

A spokesman for Colonial Pipeline said crews removed the affected pipeline segment. Work has now begun to install the new pipeline segment and restore the line to service, which is now projected for Friday, according to a news release

Local and state authorities continue to provide oversight and assistance with the response. 

"Air and water quality monitoring is ongoing as safety and environmental protection continue to be primary concerns," the statement said.

Previous story:

Colonial Pipeline workers are still trying to pin down the exact location of a leak in a major gasoline pipeline not far from the Tennessee River.

Pipeline officials believe about 15 barrels of gasoline (about 630 gallons) leaked from the 12-inch diameter pipeline, which carries petroleum products through the Chattanooga area to the Nashville market, according to company spokesman Aaron Smith. The break occurred in a section of pipe off Suck Creek Road, alongside Shoal Creek near Signal Mountain.

None of the leaked gasoline reached the creek, according to Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. McDonald said the exact amount of gasoline that leaked may change once Colonial officials find the place in the pipe where the leak occurred and check its surroundings. For now, they are removing any soil contaminated by the gasoline as they work to remove the damaged section of pipe, Colonial spokesman Smith said.

So far the company has shut down the pipeline and closed valves, allowing it to drain all of the liquid from the pipe to eliminate the risk of further leakage, McDonald said.

The repair process is slow, Colonial officials said, because the terrain is hilly and rocky and the site is very close to Shoal Creek and not far from the Tennessee River.

They said they hope to have all repairs made and the pipeline back in operation by the end of this week.

The leak was first reported on Saturday after a nearby resident reported smelling gasoline.

Hazardous material teams from the Chattanooga Fire Department and the Hamilton County Emergency Management agency placed protective booms in the creek as a precaution.

According to the company, Alpharetta, Ga.-based Colonial operates 5,599 miles of pipelines and moves more than 100 million gallons daily of gasoline, jet fuel, home heating oil, and other hazardous liquids, in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

A much more serious leak in September along a Colonial pipeline in rural Alabama spilled between 252,000 and 336,000 gallons of gasoline, leading to a rise in gas prices across the South until repairs were made. In November, excavation near the same location ignited gasoline and sent flames and thick smoke soaring over a forest in northern Alabama, Colonial officials said. One worker was killed and five were injured in that accident.

Contact staff writer Steve Johnson at 423-757-6673sjohnson@timesfreepress.com, on Twitter, stevejohnsonTFP, and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/noogahealth.


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