Washed-out bridge blamed for pipeline rupture, gas spill

AP News
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Posted: Oct 25, 2016 1:08 PM

TROUT RUN, Pa. (AP) — A bridge washed out by flooding traveled the length of a football field and ruptured a pipeline last week, spilling about 55,000 gallons of gasoline into a Pennsylvania creek, pipeline officials said Tuesday.

An "object of extreme destructive force" severed the 8-inch pipeline under Wallis Run in Lycoming County, Sunoco Logistics said in a news release.

A storm late Thursday into Friday dumped up to 7 inches of rain on areas in western and central Pennsylvania, wreaking havoc on rural communities. Flooding washed away two homes and damaged hundreds of others, while high winds sent a tree crashing into a house, killing a man.

The floodwaters swept away a bridge in Gamble Township, at the confluence of Wallis Run and Loyalsock Creek.

"Given the position of the pipe and the location of the bridge before and after the event, it's clear that the bridge was responsible for the damage to the pipe," David R. Chalson, Sunoco Logistics senior vice president for operations, said in a statement.

The pipeline, which carries gasoline, diesel and home heating oil, was installed in 1994 at a depth of at least 5 feet under the stream bed, according to the company.

Sunoco plans to replace a 500-foot section of pipe and bury it 25 feet under the stream bed.

Water monitoring has not revealed any impact to drinking water supplies. An emergency command center staffed by federal, state and local government officials, along with Sunoco Logistics, was disbanded Tuesday.