Meraux Pipeline spills more than 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel near New Orleans

The accident occurred on December 27 on a 16-inch diesel pipeline located at the Chalmette Refinery, east of New Orleans, in St. Bernard Parish, according to federal documents released by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. PHMSA is tasked with overseeing pipeline safety in the United States

The line’s owner, Collins Pipeline Company, shut down the Meraux pipeline on the morning of the 27th after he reportedly noticed pressure gauges and flow meter measurements that indicated a leak, the documents said. Later the same day, the pipeline company visually confirmed that the line had ruptured, releasing low-sulfur diesel that appeared near the levee wall in St. Bernard Parish.

The company initially reported a leak of 200-300 BBLs (8400-12600 gallons); But on December 28, the company estimated diesel loss at more than 300,000 gallons.

In a statement to CNN, Michael Karlovich, vice president of communications for PBF Energy, said they have so far recovered more than 320,000 gallons of diesel fuel from the site and pipeline together that was later recycled at their refineries.

The Collins Pipeline Company is a subsidiary of PBF Energy.

No injuries or deaths were reported as a result of the rupture; However, thousands of fish, birds and other wildlife were killed.

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The pipeline rupture comes more than a year after an October 2020 inspection revealed 22-foot-long, 25-inch-wide external corrosion near the site of the failure, according to federal documents.

The root cause of the accident remains uncertain at this time. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in its report that initial reports indicated that the likely cause was localized corrosion and metal loss.

Karlovic tells CNN that repairs have been made to the torn line and operations have been restored.

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