Harristown Terminal (Pipeline Site)
Buckeye Partners LP
Fact Sheet #1
Harristown, Illinois – Macon County
The Harristown Terminal site receives gasoline and other fuels through a pipeline from a refinery in Wood River, Illinois. It stores the product in tanks and pumps it into tanker trucks to be delivered to retail gas stations. The site is located at 600 E. Lincoln Memorial Parkway immediately south of the Norfolk Southern Railroad, just north of Old Route 36 in Harristown, west of Decatur. It is owned by Buckeye Partners, a Pennsylvania-based company.
Workers at the facility reportedly became aware of a leak at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, June 12, 2006 after noticing a problem from a gauge on one of the storage tanks. The spilled product was within an earthen reservoir around tanks on the property. Emergency crews have worked around the clock since the incident to clean up the spill. An additional area of contamination was detected late Monday about one mile northwest of the site where a field tile was releasing gasoline to a drainage ditch near a small pond. Surface water in the area flows west-northwest. Another crew was dispatched to work on cleaning up that area, and oil booms were placed across a creek at various points to stop the spill from traveling further west until it could be cleaned up.
Illinois EPA has collected samples of both the Niantic and Harristown public water supplies. In addition, water and soil samples have been collected by Illinois EPA, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and contractors for the site owner.
Are the public drinking water supplies safe?
Yes. Illinois EPA collected samples right away for both the Niantic and the Harristown water supplies, which are supplied by wells to the west of the Buckeye site. Results show that there is not a problem with gasoline-type chemicals in either water supply. Illinois EPA intends to continue to monitor those public water supply wells, since they are located down gradient from the surface spill direction.
Is there an immediate hazard from this type of spill?
Fuel spilled in the environment may be the source of a fire or explosion hazard if it comes in contact with an ignition source. However, most of the product on the ground surface has now been cleaned up, so what is left in the soil should not present an immediate hazard. One family was evacuated from their home for a day, and U.S. Route 36 and the Norfolk Southern Railroad were temporarily closed.
Aren’t there dangerous chemicals in gasoline?
Gasoline contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which are considered to be hazardous. Many VOCs, when inhaled, cause headache and nausea. In addition, benzene is a known human carcinogen. At this point, however, IEPA does not believe there is a route of exposure for the general population to the vapors or gasoline from the spill.
What have the test results from private wells shown?
So far, the private wells closest to the spill area do not test positive for gasoline-related chemicals. IDPH, the agency that collected the samples, will continue to monitor the situation for a threat to private wells.
What should residents watch for, in case their wells may become contaminated in the future?
Private well users near the site should be aware of changes in their well water quality, such as a sheen on the surface of the water or a gasoline-like odor.
How much of the spill was actually cleaned up?
As of Thursday, June 15, approximately 65,000 gallons of the spilled gasoline have been cleaned up. Based on the reported volume of the spill, there may be as much as another 100,000 gallons yet to be cleaned up.
How far from the terminal has the release gone?
There is evidence of gasoline two miles west of the terminal site. Illinois EPA is working with the site owner to contain and manage the spill so it does not travel any farther.
What work is being done by the site owners to contain or clean up the spill?
Contractors for the plant owner have recovered the gasoline that was in the containment area where the release originated. They also recovered the gasoline that was in drainage ditches to the west of the site.
Now, contractors are working on containing and cleaning up spilled product and stained soils that are around a field tile that transported some of the product away from the site. Illinois EPA continues to investigate this spill and is working with the county and state health departments and the local public works staff for Niantic and Harristown to ensure that both the public water supplies and private wells are safe.
Will there be a long-term investigation and cleanup?
Yes. Once a thorough investigation of the spill and areas of contamination is complete, Illinois EPA will require a clean up action. Sampling results after the cleanup will need to show that appropriate cleanup values are met for all areas where gasoline has affected surface water, ground water or soil.
For more information, you may contact:
Illinois EPA Office of Community Relations:
Bureau of Water – Project Manager