Gasoline contamination spreading, flush-only advisory area may expand in Jackson

CREATED Aug. 8, 2012 - UPDATED: Aug. 9, 2012

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  • Gas spill in Jackson. Photo courtesy of TODAY'S TMJ4

TOWN OF JACKSON- The gasoline spill in the Town of Jackson could result in more problems as a Journal Sentinel investigation found that state environmental and health officials may consider expanding the flush-only advisory area later this week.

The investigation discovered that gasoline was contaminating areas outside of the designated flush-only area, which is a region where the state urges residents to only use well water for flushing toilets.

An estimated 55,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a pipeline owned by the West Shore Pipe Line company on July 17, and that prompted the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to issue drinking water and flush-only advisories for parts of the Washington County town affected by the spill.

The current flush-only advisory area extends from the Prairie Meadows Estates subdivision along Wildflower Lane north of Mill Road to the subdivisions along Mockingbird and Hummingbird Drives south of Western Ave. The western boundary is the block of Maple Road between Mill Road and Western Ave. The area extends a few hundred yards east of the pipeline break in the 1800 block of Western Ave.

The pipeline company issued a statement Wednesday saying they have installed new water filtration devices in the homes of all residents affected by the flush-only advisory.

The company also said they are developing a remediation plan which will be submitted to the DNR for review and approval.

"We're going to be working with the state and many other state entities to look at what's the long-term solution to supplying water to these residents," said Patrick Hodgins to Newsradio 620 WTMJ.  Hodgins is the director of health, safety, security and environment for Buckeye Partners, L.P., operator of the pipeline for West Shore.

238 private water wells have been tested and 21 private wells in the Town of Jackson have been contaminated by the chemical benzene, said Hodgins Wednesday evening.  Of the 21, 16 wells exceed the federal drinking water standard of five parts per billion.

While the estimated cost of this spill isn't known, Hodgins said that isn't their primary concern at the moment.  "The focus is on remediating the area as quickly as possible, protecting the people's water sources and figuring out what we're going to do in the long-term to provide water safely to the residents."
 
In the meantime, the West Shore Pipe Line company plans on testing more drinking water wells inside and outside the flush-only advisory.

The pipeline company said they will continue to offer hotel accommodations for individuals impacted by the flush-only advisory for the duration of the advisory, and continue to provide water to affected residents while the DNR drinking water and flush-only advisories remain in effect.
 
People with problems related to the gasoline spill can call the West Shore Pipe Line Claims Center at (866) 837-5016.  The center is open for calls from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.

You can visit the company's website for more updates as well.