Iroquois County

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) has referred an enforcement action to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office against Marathon Pipe Line LLC, Henrichs Drainage, Inc., and Brad Orr for a release of unleaded gasoline from a pipeline buried in a farm field near Gilman (Iroquois County), according to information from the state. The referral cites violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act related to the release of gasoline.

According to the information from the state, on July 14, 2021, a representative of Marathon contacted the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to report an accidental release of unleaded gasoline containing 10% ethanol from a Marathon pipeline. The release occurred when a third party, Henrichs, hired by tenant farmer Brad Orr, hit the 12-inch Wabash pipeline while attempting to lay field tile. Henrichs reported the release to Marathon, cut the active tile, and dug a trench to stop the flow of gasoline into the tile. At that time of the initial report, the release was estimated at 1,000 barrels. Emergency responders were notified, and Illinois EPA staff arrived on site.

Booms were installed in an unnamed agricultural ditch leading to Spring Creek, which was approximately two and one-half miles from the release location. No contamination was visible at Spring Creek, as 14 sets of booms and two underflow dams had been placed in the ditch. On July 16, the estimate of barrels released was increased to 1,200 barrels, which will be reevaluated after 30 days. Marathon also sampled private wells at six homes, located within a one-mile radius of the release. The private wells were sampled for benzene, toluene, ethylene, and xylene. No contaminants of concern were detected. Additional samples will be taken at two weeks and four weeks from the first set.

In the referral the Illinois EPA alleges Marathon, Henrichs, and Brad Orr have caused, threatened, or allowed the discharging of contaminants so as to cause or tend to cause water pollution, and deposited contaminants upon the land so as to create a water pollution hazard. Additional violations may be added as the Agency gathers more information. The referral asks the Attorney General’s Office to obtain an order requiring the defendants to continue implementing response actions including the removal and proper disposal of all contaminated soils, development and implementation of a surface water and sediment sampling plan from the ditch to Spring Creek, additional sampling of private groundwater wells, additional surface water sampling, and confirmation sampling to determine that the response is complete.

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