‘Gas Crisis 2016’ Nears End as Pipeline Bypass Completed

What has been dubbed the Gas Crisis 2016, both a shortage of gasoline and a rise in prices on parts of the East Coast, is set to end soon as the successful bypass of the leaking pipeline has been given the go-ahead by authorities for Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

Late on Tuesday, Sept. 20, the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration issue written approval for a restart of Colonial Pipeline Line 1 for Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Consumers in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and other states whose fuel is supplied via Line 1 of the Colonial Pipeline were concerned about real and imagined gasoline shortages when a portion of that line was reported to be leaking on Sept. 9, 2016 in a rural area about 30 miles from Birmingham, Alabama.

The pipeline company reported it had crews at the site of the leak around the clock, but that adverse weather conditions on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 slowed down repair efforts due to the presence of gasoline and other hazardous vapors being trapped near the ground surrounding the two leak containment ponds in the area. The most expedient repair of the leak was a 500- to 700-foot bypass around the leak in Line 1, with a connection of the bypass then on the east side of the leak, allowing transport gasoline once again to the 13 states serviced by the pipeline.

Immediate lowering of gas prices in the affected areas is not expected, but a gradual return to usual fuel prices as the crisis is averted and supplies to return to normal, is anticipated.

What Will Be the Environmental Cost of Colonial Pipeline Leak?

At this time, both the Environmental Protection Agency and Cahaba Riverkeeper, David Butler, are in agreement that the effect of the leak of about 336,000 gallons of refined gas to the environment around the spill has been limited to the two containment ponds near the site of the leak in addition to “the flora and fauna” in and near those ponds.

Thus far, in all tests of water in Peel Creek, the waterway nearest the site of the spill that feeds into the Cahaba River, the tests have been negative for any indications of gasoline spillage into the waterway. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley explained that rigorous testing has been underway by both Colonial and the EPA of Peel Creek and that such testing will continue as part of the total effort of monitoring the pipeline leak’s effect on the environment

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