Judge orders probe of Palos Park jet fuel spill
By Mike Nolan email@example.com September 15, 2012 1:38AM
Workers continue repairing the ruptured jet fuel line along Rt. 83 in Palos Park, Illinois, Tuesday, August 28, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:38AM
A Cook County judge has ordered an investigation into last month’s spill of more than 29,000 gallons of jet fuel in Palos Park and has told the companies that own and operate the pipeline that ruptured to assess the integrity of their pipeline system.
Separately, the Illinois attorney general’s office said it and the Will County state’s attorney have settled a December 2010 complaint against the same companies involving a spill that dumped 21,000 gallons of crude oil in Lockport.
Both West Shore Pipe Line, which owns both pipelines, and Buckeye Pipe Line Co., which operates the pipelines, are continuing a cleanup after the Aug. 27 spill in the 8700 block of West Illinois 83, which fouled the Calumet Sag Channel, caused extended traffic disruptions and closed the waterway to barge traffic.
The attorney general’s office said Friday that the Cook County injunction, handed down Thursday, requires the companies to submit a cleanup plan and to turn over inspection and maintenance records for that particular pipeline going back a decade.
Also, because it’s the companies’ second pipeline failure in less than two years, “the court order requires them to submit a report to the Illinois EPA detailing the cause of the spill and a statement of the preventive measures they plan to implement to prevent similar pipeline releases from occurring,” according to the attorney general’s office.
A status hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15.
The attorney general’s decision to seek a court injunction doesn’t imply the companies were not cooperating with authorities in cleaning up the spill, but the state would now be able to involve the courts should there be issues down the road, a spokesman for the attorney general said Friday.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to monitor the cleanup, and both West Shore and Buckeye “have been cooperative and have been providing the proper documentation,” Maggie Carson, a spokeswoman for the IEPA, said Friday.
In the Lockport spill, the consent order filed Wednesday in Will County Circuit Court requires West Shore and Buckeye to pay a civil penalty of $108,000 to the state’s Environmental Protection Trust Fund and reimburse the IEPA for its costs associated with the spill, the attorney general’s office said. Also, the companies agreed to pay Will County a civil penalty of $10,000 and reimburse the county for its costs related to the spill.