By David Meade
A leak in one of the largest gasoline supply pipelines in the country has caused some supply concerns locally but no real problems. The spill on the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Texas to New Jersey, was discovered two weeks ago in Alabama. The pipeline runs through South Carolina with distribution facilities located in Cheddar that supply gasoline to the area.
The Colonial pipeline carries 1.3 million barrels per day of gasoline from the refining hub on the Gulf Coast to the East Coast. According to reports, Colonial has built a 500- to 700-foot bypass line to resume full operations of the line which is expected to operate at reduced pressure around the damaged section. Colonial officials said the pipeline could still maintain normal flow rates.
The leak, discovered by a mining inspector who smelled a fuel odor in Helena, Alabama, released about 6,000 to 8,000 barrels (252,000-336,000 gallons) of gasoline. The cause of the leak remains unknown.
The restart of the main Line 1 is expected today, (Wed. Sept. 21). Upon successful completion of testing, Colonial Pipeline will begin the process of tying the bypass segment into Line 1 and preparing for a safe restart. When the line restarts, it will take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal, and some markets served by the pipeline may experience “intermittent service interruptions,” Colonial officials said.