A 12-inch pipeline has ruptured in North-Central Iowa, and has leaked 3,300 barrels (almost 140,000 gallons) of diesel fuel onto a nearby farm.
Magellan Midstream Partners, the company that owns the pipeline, is currently on the scene of the spill along with representatives of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DNR field office supervisor Jeff Vansteenburg called the spill “a big one,” and told the Des Moines Register that taxpayers would not pay for the cost of cleanup.
“The product is under pressure, so as soon as a leak develops, it starts coming out pretty fast,” Vansteenburg said. “The responsible party is Magellan.”
The pipeline began spraying diesel fuel around 8 AM local time on Wednesday morning, while initial reports suggested that 63,000 gallons of diesel had leaked onto the privately owned farm. According to DNR spokeswoman Karen Grimes, no local water supplies were contaminated, despite a stream running close to the site of the spill.
Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine told local media that the cause of the spill is not yet known, but that his company has fully contained the spill. Magellan is using vacuum and frack trucks to clean up the spilled diesel fuel, and will clean the tainted soil on the farm after taking care of the spilled fuel.
This isn’t the first Magellan pipeline to have recently ruptured. In October, a Magellan pipeline in Nebraska burst, killing one and prompting the evacuation of 23 others in the area. Magellan was also fined almost $420,000 over a 2010 spill in Oklahoma in which more than 45,000 gallons of gasoline spilled, poisoning a nearby creek that flowed into the Verdigris River and Lake Oologah.
The pipeline spill is ominous news for environmentalists, considering President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders giving the go-ahead for construction of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. The Dakota pipeline, which runs 1,100 miles from North Dakota to Illinois, would run underneath the Missouri River, and a rupture could poison drinking water for millions of people living in multiple states. The Keystone XL pipeline’s route crosses the Ogalalla Aquifer, which irrigates large swaths of land in the heart of America’s agricultural centers.