Section of pipe bursts in major multi-state gasoline supply line

JACKSON — A major gasoline supply line that transports fuel from Chicago to Green Bay was shut down Thursday, July 19th after a section of pipe burst. Crews were on the scene in Jackson, repairing the pipeline and assessing any environmental damage.

Sally McComis and her family were forced out of their home after the gas line burst in their backyard.

The 650-mile long, 10-inch diameter pipeline transports gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to Green Bay from Chicago.

Tuesday, the Illinois-based West Shore Pipe Line detected the blowout around 10:40 a.m.

“Immediately, we put aircraft in the air to run the right-of-way as well as people on the ground to walk the right-of-way to try and locate the exact location,” Patrick Hodgins, Director of West Shore Pipe Line said.

McComis believes the leak began at least a week ago, when she says her family began to feel ill.

“A lot of us have had kind of, nasalized kind of situations, headaches, upset stomachs, nausea — I mean, we’ve really noticed it definitely,” McComis said.

Crews have been continually testing area water wells and air conditions since first arriving on the scene. So far, it appears the impact is limited.

“We have fixed monitors in the area as well as handheld monitors, and we haven’t registered any concerns to the risk of the residents at this time,” Hodgins said.

Neighbors say they’ve been told they can return home if they choose, however, the pipeline company says repairs will take a few more days. After that, they’ll address any environmental concerns.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released a statement regarding the incident Thursday, saying they have representatives at the scene, working with West Shore Pipeline, along with EPA representatives.

The DNR statement said, in part:

“Current testing indicates that there has been no impact to the air or water quality in the community around the location of the release, and officials on site have not detected any public safety risk.  West Shore Pipe Line is working to repair the pipeline and resume operations.  The pipeline system will remain shut down until it is deemed safe to reopen by regulatory authorities.”

West Shore Pipe Line released the following statement in regards to the incident:

“West Shore Pipe Line Company has located and is currently responding to a gasoline release near Jackson, Wisconsin along a section of pipeline between the towns of Granville and Elkhart Lake. The release, which occurred shortly before noon EDT on Tuesday, July 17, has been contained.

The West Shore Pipe Line Company’s Spill Management Team has secured the affected area, and crews are on site working around the clock to assess and remediate environmental impact. Current testing indicates that there has been no impact to the air or water quality in the community around the location of the release, and we are not aware of any public safety risk.

The company is working with local fire, emergency management and law enforcement officials as well as relevant state and federal authorities. West Shore is working diligently to repair the pipeline and resume operations.

West Shore Pipe Line and its employees are an integral part of the local communities in which we operate. Our primary concerns are ensuring the safety of the public and responders as well as minimizing environmental impact. 

The pipeline system will remain shut down until it is deemed safe by company officials and regulatory authorities. We are working closely with our customers to minimize supply disruption. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

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