Weekend rains delayed ongoing efforts to remove gas that leaked from a Kinder Morgan fuel pipeline in Walnut Creek – the same pipeline and in the same area as a 2004 explosion that killed five.
Area residents first reported the smell of fuel in the area late last month. Responding crews found that as much as 42,000 gallons of gas had leaked into the San Ramon Bypass flood control channel and surrounding grounds, and have been trying to clean up the spill under the watchful eye of various agencies, the city, and wary locals ever since.
Efforts have been made to re-route rain water around the work site and crews are working and monitoring changes in conditions overnight. It is not known how long the remediation effort will take.
The state’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the Environmental Protection Agency are monitoring the scene. City of Walnut Creek staff and County Flood Control personnel are also on hand.
Some locals remember the 2004 explosion on the same line that killed five construction workers and injured four others.
In that incident the Kinder Morgan pipeline was struck by a backhoe, causing a gasoline spill that ignited an explosive fireball investigators said incinerated five workers and severely injured four others. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Kinder Morgan for failure to accurately mark or map the pipeline location, and the California Fire Marshal fined the company $500,000 for its role in what they said was a “completely preventable” tragedy.