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Mokena Oil Tank Leak Under Investigation

U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is investigating the cause of an oil tank leak at the Chicap Mokena Terminal, which is operated by BP Oil. Enbridge Inc., of Calgary, Alberta is the distributor.

Cleanup continued through the weekend after 900 barrels of crude oil leaked from a storage tank at BP Oil-Enbridge Storage in unincorporated Mokena.

The leak of crude oil, destined for Superior, Wis., was discovered in the afternoon of Nov. 20 at the storage facility on Wolf Road at 184th Street.  According to Larry Springer, Enbridge Inc. spokesperson, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration was notified of the accident.

The cause of the accident was due to a "failure on the line," said Springer, speaking on behalf of Calgary, Alberta-based crude oil distributor.

A definite leak of 37,800 gallons of crude oil was confirmed to have escaped from an "infrequently used Enbridge tankage line" on Nov. 21, said Springer. The leak was contained to a dike that surrounds the tank. The surface oil has been sopped up, but crews are currently working to collect the drenched soil surrounding the dike.

According to an Enbridge press release, "The situation does not pose a health or safety risk to the community." However, some nearby residents have commented on Patch that they fear they may have been exposed to harmful chemicals.

Springer reiterated that "all of the oil was contained entirely within one of the storage tank dikes inside the facility, and all the visible oil within the tank dike has now been recovered."

State of Cleanup

While the soil continues to be collected, the main focus of attention is monitoring the situation for volatile organic compounds.

There are detection monitors along the perimeter of the facility, including one that faces the neighboring subdivision on the northwest edge of the plant near Wolf Road, he said. So far, there has been "zero" evidence of volatile chemical releases in the air.

The monitors are set to detect releases of hydrocarbons, benzene, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide, according to Springer. In addition, the crews are using standard Lower Explosion Limits (LEL) monitors to detect the presence of combustible gas or vapor.

Cleanup could stretch for days, he said. "It's moving along nicely. On Monday (Nov. 26) you can expect to see a lot of trucks moving in and out of the terminal," caring the contaminated soil to a designated hazardous waste facility.

The site won't be declared "clean" until official state agencies, such as the Illinois EPA, sign off on the process, said Springer.

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pepper November 25, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Springer reiterated that "all of the oil was contained entirely within one of the storage tank dikes inside the facility, and all the VISIBLE OIL within the tank dike has now been recovered." right...but what about the oil that seeped into the ground and eventually reaches the aquifer and then our local wells?
Ann Piasecki November 25, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Hi Pepper; You're exactly right. That's part of what investigators are pursuing. Patch will continue providing updates as the story evolves.
Dorothy November 25, 2012 at 04:31 PM
All day long I could smell that crude oil smell - as far away as Route 30 and LaGrange. I thought there was something wrong with my car because it was everywhere I went. It gave me a headache smelling that stink all day. And not a word to the community from the Village.
jay hauptenauer November 25, 2012 at 05:07 PM
40,000 gallons of oil soaking into the ground, but there is no need for worry. Isn't that what they told the residents near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster after their 'mishap'?
Dennis November 26, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Jay, please do not compare nuclear energy to an oil leak. The AMERICAN nuclear industry has never had a mishap requiring a clean-up. And, it is virtually nonpolluting. Meanwhile it is common for our oil and chemical industries to do so frequently.
Eric Blair November 26, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Dennis, you have a short memory. Remember “Three Mile Island”? Closer to here you might want to look at what is now going on at Zion, Il nuclear plant. Nonpolluting? By whose definition?
KB November 26, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I agree. The first I've heard about this is this morning, and I live less than a mile from the facility. Scary, and pretty disturbing that there wasn't more of an information release to the community!
RAK November 26, 2012 at 03:18 PM
ComEd just recently had to remove contaminated soils and install well monitoring devices at the Byron facility.
RAK November 26, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I was wondering why that facility has been lit up the last few nights. Last night you could realy hear the clean-up machinery well into the night. I guess a 900 brl spill in the lowly SW suburbs isn't big enough news for the networks or the big city papers. Thanks Patch!
James November 26, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I get a "robo call" from "the Mayor" about his partner Peloquin but the entire community is left in the dark about this?
C. Martinez November 26, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I live on 187th and my husband and I were unable to sleep because of the loud clean-up machinery noises. Probably past 3AM. But when I left for work at 9:30AM this morning there was no machines going. Why are they doing the clean up at 10PM to 3:00AM+ and not during "normal working" hours. I think I got a couple hours of sleep and that was not even straight through. I'm going to have to get ear plugs today so we can sleep tonight. Otherwise I'm going to lose it. I'm sure a lot of the residents along 187th had the same problem.
reasonable November 26, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I called mokena village hall on Wednesday afternoon to tell them there had been a bad smell for 2 days around our area 191st and schoolhouse (like gas or a very large dead animal in the sewer system). They weren't that willing to help and told me unless I seen a dead animal not much they could do... but they would send someone out to look around in the sewers (I Never seen anyone!) and that I should call Nicor. Wonder if that had anything to do with it???
C. Martinez November 27, 2012 at 02:46 AM
8:00PM they started the clean up machinery. It's super loud....

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