Pipeline Breaks, Spills Oil in NJ

Thursday, February 25, 2016 @ 05:02 PM gHale

An underground pipeline in a Bayonne, NJ, park discovered leaking Tuesday spilled at least 3,000 gallons of oil and is currently undergoing repairs, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The leaking pipeline — located in Halecky-IMTT Park at the east end of 27th Street — was reported to the DEP at 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, but no one knows yet when the line actually broke, said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna.

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“Responders are out on the scene. They’re excavating and using vacuums to pull up the oil,” Hajna said, adding as of 3:30 p.m., workers had recovered 3,000 gallons.

The DEP said the leak has not affected any waterways, and it is not a threat to public health and safety.

IMTT, a liquid storage and handling facility, owns the pipeline and took it out of service several months ago to carry out repairs and upgrades, but the leak is stemming from residual oil left in the line, Hajna said.

“Presuming that there are no other leaks in the pipeline, and that we have the leak identified, there will be no more (oil) going into the environment. It will be collected by the vacuuming operation,” he said. “There is an area that has soil saturated with oil and that will have to be excavated and backfilled with clean fill at some point,” he said.

IMTT has assumed responsibility for cleaning up the area, and will be reimbursing the state for any costs incurred by the DEP when the DEP initially responded to the emergency, DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske added.

The DEP identified the oil that leaked as “Number 2 fuel oil,” also known as heating oil and sees use for “domestic heating or for moderate capacity commercial/industrial burner units,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s website.

DEP officials said they do not know if they stopped the leak or when they will wrap up repairs on the broken pipeline.

Meanwhile, contrary to the DEP’s version of events, Tim Boyle, head of the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority, said the leak is coming from a line that is in service. Asked about the discrepancy, the DEP said IMTT said the line is out of service.

When contacted, IMTT couldn’t immediately provide information on the matter, or provide information in response to other inquiries.