Gasoline spill was 150,000 gallons

The Princeton Packet

10 February, 1986 (~estimated)

Gasoline spill was 150,000 gallons

By Sally Lane

Staff Writer

WEST WINDSOR — A Pennsylvania company lost 150,000 gallons of gasoline in a Jan. 31 pipeline leak at the Delaware & Raritan Canal — not 10,000 gallons as earlier reported, a company official said Monday. 

“I don’t know where the 10,000 estimate came from,” said David Hackney, media relations manager for Sun Co., of Philadelphia. The Sun Co. is the parent company of the Sun Pipeline Co., of Wayne, Pa, which owns the line.

Mr. Hackney speculated that in the “rush” to clean up the area, workers may have guessed at the amount spilled, coming up with the 10,000-gallon figure.

Using company records to compare the amount of gasoline that went into the line to the amount drawn from the line, the company determined Monday that 150,000 gallons had been lost in the spill, Mr. Hackney said. The gasoline was worth approximately $120,000.

Distribution centers in Newark and Piscataway, and Twin Oaks and Willow Grove, Pa, are serviced by the line, Mr. Hackney said.

The increased amount of gas lost in the spill should not affect the cleanup, because the cleanup process is the same regardless of the amount spilled, Mr. Hackney said.

“You start at the point of the leak and move away from it in all directions,” he said. The cleanup crew would “spread out” until they no longer detected gasoline in the soil, he said.

The leak occurred in a section of the line behind the Canal Pointe Associates development off Carnegie Boulevard West. The line, which carries gasoline between Marcus Hook, Pa, and Newark, was repaired and put back in service Feb. 4.

The New England Pollution Control Co. of Robbinsville has been working since Jan. 31 cleaning up the area and should be finished by the end of this week, Mr. Hackney said.

“It’s simply a matter of smelling gas,” he said. The pollution control company will “keep digging” in the area, until they no longer smell gas in the soil, he said. The soil will then be collected and taken to a landfill in Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, authorities are investigating the cause of the pipeline split, Mr. Hackney said. Officials believe that a 2-foot-long gash they found in the pipe was inflicted sometime prior to the leak.

Sluice gates at Lambertville and Kingston were closed immediately after the spill to prevent contaminated water from spreading. The water is used for consumption by 600,000 people, including Mercer and Middlesex County residents.

Some of the gasoline in the canal burned up in an explosion and fire that occurred 8 p.m. the evening of the leak, after gas fumes from the broken line were ignited by a heater in a pumphouse ceiling.


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