Washed-out bridge hitting pipeline caused spill

The estimated 55,000 gallons of gasoline that poured from a ruptured pipeline in Gamble Township was caused when a washed-out bridge hit the pipeline during Friday’s flash floods, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. said Tuesday.

The pipeline was damaged when the bridge traveled 100 yards down a tributary of Loyalsock Creek, Jeff Shields, Sunoco Logistics communications manager, said in a news release.

“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.

The bridge was an extension of Wallis Run Road that ran over the tributary running into the Loyalsock Creek right before Butternut Grove Road, in Montoursville, Shields said.

The section of pipeline under Wallis Run was installed in 1994 at a depth of at least 5 feet below the stream bed.

Sunoco Logistics is finalizing its repair plans in cooperation with local, state and federal agencies, Shields said.

By reviewing the incident in cooperation with officials, the decision was made to replace the damaged pipe with a 500-foot section of pipe using horizontal directional drilling,the company said.

The method of drilling will allow the pipeline to be placed about 25-feet under the stream bed rather than 5 feet.

A timetable of the repairs is being decided and will be announced as soon as it is finished being developed.

Water monitoring of the Loyalsock Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River continued Tuesday under supervision of the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

With no significant traces of gasoline found beyond odors in isolated areas and water samples continuing to show safe levels for drinking water, the emergency phase concluded Tuesday morning.

Results continue to show safe drinking water levels in the Susquehanna River, according to the release.

Personnel from Sunoco Logistics are continuing to meet with residents affected by the pipeline rupture.

Residents who have been impacted by the release may call a Sunoco Logistics representative at 1-800-759-5644.