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Fuel Spill In Pipestone Creek

Pipestone National Monument

National Park News

A tanker fuel truck was parked in the driveway of the local Shell gas station on June 16th, filling the station’s tanks, when a pickup truck drove over the large-diameter fuel line leading from the truck to the tank port, causing the hose connections to separate. About 262 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the station driveway before the driver could shut off the tanker’s pump. Almost all of the fuel flowed into a nearby storm water drain before firefighters could get to the scene. Firefighters flushed the drain and pipe, causing a stream of water and diesel fuel to flow into Pipestone Creek. Firefighters also placed absorbent booms into the creek, but evidently did so after most of the fuel had already entered the creek’s channel. Upon arrival on scene, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and its contractor, West Central Environmental Consultants (WCEC), put additional control measures into place. The park was notified at approximately 10:30 a.m., at which time staff began coordinating and assisting MPCA and WCEC by directing them to creek access points in the park and monitoring the migration of the fuel sheen downstream to the park. Law enforcement and natural resource staff photographed and monitored the flow, then reported observations to them. They also assisted them in placing absorbent booms at locations within the park. Numerous observations of Pipestone Creek were made over the course of the afternoon and evening, but no fish kills or other wildlife impacts were seen. MPCA contacted EPA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service very early in the incident. Present in Pipestone Creek is the Topeka shiner, a federally listed endangered species.


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