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Walnut Creek December 9, 2020 – Cleanup operations and an investigation are ongoing into an underground gasoline spill stemming from a cracked pipeline in Contra Costa County.
Kinder Morgan, the pipeline operator, is responding with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), and other local agencies.
Preliminary findings indicate the pipeline was compromised by a tree root system, which was first reported and responded to on Nov. 20 in the area of South Broadway in Walnut Creek. An additional report of gasoline odor was later reported further north on Dec. 3, in the Walnut Creek Flood Control drainage canal at the intersection of Walnut Creek and Arroyo channels, near the Iron Horse Trail footbridge just south of Ygnacio Valley Road. Initially, the two reports were thought to be unrelated until recent analysis connected both to the same source.
Cleanup crews are on-scene containing and recovering the gasoline from the drainage canal. Safety of responders and minimizing impacts to the environment are the top priorities of the response; safety zones have been established around areas of investigation and cleanup, and COVID-19 health guidelines are being utilized for responder and public safety.
The pipeline has been temporarily shut down from Concord to San Jose, and preliminary analysis indicates a potential discharge of between 750 to 1,000 barrels (31,500 to 42,000 gallons). Remediation, including air monitoring, is underway for removal of the product that remains underground.
No impacted wildlife have been reported/observed at this time, but crews are monitoring for them. Trained responders from OSPR and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network have been put on standby, and will be activated should they be needed.