20,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from Marathon oil pipeline near 56th Street on northwest side

INDIANAPOLIS - West 56th Street on the city's northwest side remained blocked off to traffic Friday morning as crews worked to clean up roughly 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel that leaked from a Marathon oil pipeline Thursday.

Marion County Health Department officials were called the 5600 block of Guion Road late Wednesday on reports of a strong odor in the area. Just before 2 a.m. Thursday, health officials were called back to the area after receiving complaints about a smell. Pike Township Fire Department crews were called to the scene for assistance.

Citizens Energy Spokesman Dan Considine said the incident was initially reported as a gas spill, but it was later determined to be an oil pipeline leak.

Crews determined the source of the leak coming from a Marathon pipeline. Cleanup is expected to take several weeks, officials said. 

Investigators said the fuel was found on the ground near the railroad tracks east of the Pike Township Transportation building.

Two pipelines in the area were shut down and Considine said crews were working to prevent the oil from leaking into sewers. The oil spread down to 54th Street and crews used at least four vacuums trucks to suck up the spill.

A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said the spill has been contained.

"We're pulling some off of the pond… we've got booms up to keep it from going to the tributary that's there that would lead eventually to the White River," IDEM spokesman Barry Sneed said. "We've got everything blocked off, it's not going to travel any further."

Sneed said crews are preparing for the possibility of weather affecting the cleanup.

"Marathon and BP are bringing in teams to plan on if we get a heavy rain tonight to handle that extra flow that they would have," he said.

Police blocked traffic near 56th Street and Guion Road. Drivers were advised to plan for detours and to expect delays through the afternoon.

Health officials said there are no known health threats for residents because the air quality is still good and nearby homeowners are on city water.

The United States Department of Transportation is responsible for inspecting most hazardous liquid pipelines in Indiana, and a spokesperson from the agency told RTV6 on Thursday that the lines are inspected annually.

Indiana has almost 4,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipeline, including 88 miles in Marion County.
In the past 10 years, the state has had 69 incidents with the lines, plus four so far in 2013.

The 69 incidents over the past decade have caused $19 million in damage.

Nobody has died as a result of the pipeline incidents in Indiana, but two people were injured in 2010.
According to national data, the most common causes of pipeline incidents are welding or equipment failure, incorrect operation and corrosion.

More resources:
View a map of national pipelines

More information on Indiana pipeline incidents

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