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Chevron pipeline given green light to resume operations

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue | Posted - May 3rd, 2013 @ 7:12pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Federal regulators have given Chevron permission to resume operations of its pipeline near Willard Bay at a reduced capacity after it passed a pressurization test on Thursday.

In a statement released by the company, it said a restart of the 760-mile pipeline is slated for Saturday.

The successful test came the same week the pipeline flunked a similar test mandated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration. The company is required to run water through the pipeline at high pressure to test its integrity in light of a March 18 failure that led to a diesel fuel spill.

Federal regulators issued a "corrective action order" to the company requiring testing of the line and additional inspections while an investigation plays out into the cause of a 8-inch pipeline's failure.

Officials believed a segment of the line had a split along its seam, allowing an estimated 600 barrels of diesel fuel to flow from the line into wetlands at Willard Bay State Park. The park's north marina and campground have subsequently been closed and there is no timeline when normal operations will resume.

Crews hired by Chevron are still at the site cleaning up what remains and water quality sampling continues by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

The spill also led to some contaminants reaching Willard Bay and groundwater contamination — the extent of which remains unknown.

Chevron struggled with a pair of highly public pipeline spills in 2010, the first of which despoiled Red Butte Creek. The company spent more than $75 million in cleanup and remediation costs, as well as compensation to impacted residents.

In late March, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said he was frustrated at federal oversight of pipelines and wants the state to to take a more active role.


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