Coast Guard aids EPA with clean up of jet fuel spill on Calumet Sag Channel

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCHICAGO — The Coast Guard is supporting the response to a ruptured pipeline causing pollution near the Calumet Sag Channel in Palos Height, Ill., Monday.

The Coast Guard was notified at 5:31 a.m. that the pipeline ruptured near mile marker 311.5 on the Calumet Sag Channel and caused jet fuel to enter a nearby drainage ditch and subsequently enter the adjacent channel.

The Coast Guard is responding on scene with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago. The EPA is the lead agency for the response and has established an incident command post in the vicinity of the spill.

In order to help facilitate clean-up operations, the Coast Guard has implemented a safety zone on the Calumet Sag Channel that closes down the channel from mile marker 304 to mile marker 311.5. The safety zone will be in effect until the waterway is deemed safe for vessel traffic.

West Shore Pipeline owns the pipeline and has secured the source of the spill. The estimate of how much jet fuel spilled into a nearby drainage ditch is unknown, and responders are still trying to determine how much jet fuel entered into the navigable waterway.

On-scene responders have deployed 600 feet of boom, a temporary barrier used to contain a spill, across the entire channel and around the source of the spill.

“The Coast Guard will continue to ensure the safety of responders and the public,” said Lt. Leslie Downing, senior investigating officer at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago. “Our other objectives are to initiate any appropriate actions to control the source and minimize further release, assess the trajectory of the spill and identify any sensitive areas that need protecting, and keep the public informed.”

The EPA is estimating that the cleanup of the channel and surrounding areas could take up to three days to complete.

The cause of the ruptured pipeline is unknown, and the EPA is investigating.

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