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Standing room only during Jackson pipeline meeting

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JACKSON -- West Shore Pipe Line says water testing has indicated benzene in water samples from 12 private wells located in the vicinity of a gasoline pipeline leak that occurred back on July 17th. Nine of those wells have benzene levels above federal safety standards. A public meeting was held Tuesday evening, July 31st, to address residents' concerns.

It was standing room only Tuesday evening, as residents filled the Jackson Community Center, eager for information.

In a presentation, officials from West Shore Pipe Line explained their cleanup of the gasoline leak, and their plans moving forward. The company is working with residents to install water filtration system to remove contaminants and has made bottled water available.

West Shore Pipe Line says in addition to these 12 private wells, an additional 75 private wells within a three-quarter mile radius of the site have also been tested. No benzene or other gasoline contaminants have been found in these wells.

"We want filtration systems. We want some type of guarantee that they are going to continue monitoring our water to make sure it`s safe for our families. We want to know how this affects our property values. What they`re going to do to make it right?" one Jackson resident said ahead of Tuesday evening's meeting.

Officials said Tuesday evening they have detected a northwest to southwest flow of water. With that knowledge, some residents said they feel they may have already been in harm's way.

Officials tried to quell any fears on Tuesday evening, despite the fact that the water advisories were issued two weeks after the initial pipeline burst and gasoline leak.

"Their exposure has been very short term, and even though we're trying to prevent people from using that water, it's still relatively low. The concern is really long-term effects and long-term use of that water," one West Shore Pipe Line official said.

Jackson Drinking Water Advisory

Jackson Drinking Water Advisory

The Wisconsin DNR has issued a Drinking Water Advisory to residents within the area where the testing is ongoing, and has advised residents in this area not to use well water for drinking, cooking or food preparation until the well water testing is completed.

A portion of the testing area has also been placed under a Flush Only Advisory by the Wisconsin DNR. Residents in the Flush Only Advisory area have been advised not to use their well water for any purpose other than septic systems until further notice.

Households affected by the Flush Only Advisory are located in the Prairie Meadow Estates Subdivision on Wildflower Lane north of Mill Road to the Mockingbird Hill Subdivision on Hummingbird and Mockingbird Drives south of Western Avenue.

Residents of those households affected by the Flush Only Advisory (about 40-50 families) are being put up in hotels by West Shore Pipe Line.

Jackson Flush Only Advisory

Jackson Flush Only Advisory

The gasoline release occurred just before 11:00 a.m. July 17th and West Shore Pipe Line reports the line was shut down within three minutes of the leak occurring. West Shore Pipe Line says 1,300 barrels of gasoline were released.

In a statement, West Shore Pipe Line said the company: "Remains focused on protecting the safety of the public and those responding to this incident, as well as minimizing the environmental impact of the release. As part of this commitment, work crews will continue to conduct environmental testing – including outdoor and indoor air quality testing, soil sampling, well installation monitoring, and water monitoring – around the location of the release and will take actions necessary to remediate environmental impacts."

As of Tuesday evening, a hotline has been developed for residents needing to make any claims or call for bottled water. That number is (866)837-5016. The website address has not yet been released.

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