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West Shore Pipe Line: 12 private wells contain benzene in Jackson

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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.

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've got six different water monitoring wells we have installed. Now we're installing recovery wells, where we can start sucking the ground water up, and start cleaning up the water wells," Patrick Hodgins, Director of Health, Safety, Security and Environment for Buckeye Partners, which operates the West Shore Pipe Line said.

The wells being tested are generally in the area bounded by: Jackson Road to the west, Spring Valley Road to the south, Center Road to the east, and Sherman Road to the north.

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.

Jackson Flush Only Advisory

Jackson Flush Only Advisory

Officials are hosting a public information meeting Tuesday evening, July 31st at 7:00 p.m. to answer the public's questions. The meeting will be held at the Jackson Community Center.

"I've been on the pone with various residents from around the area, even residents five, six miles from here, so we're trying to keep the communication lines open," Hodgins said.

Donna Bournelis is one of several concerned residents. She says she started avoiding use of her well water days ago.

"I talked to the people who put in the well and they said it's all in the casing, but they said that actually, things can get through that too. It's just a matter of time," Bournelis said.

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.

West Shore Pipe Line says all impacted soil has been removed.

The company is providing hotel accomodations for residents affected by the Flush Only Advisory.

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."

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