State, federal agencies investigating pipeline spill in Lawrenceville

No impact on local gas prices

Credit: John Spink

Credit: John Spink

A leak from a major pipeline that serves Georgia and other southeastern states spilled hundreds of gallons of fuel into a residential neighborhood in Lawrenceville last week.

While residents in the Grayland Hills subdivision had reported smelling an odor for weeks, the oil leak was not discovered until February 22, according to preliminary findings compiled by the federal government’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The source of the spill was identified as the Products (SE) Pipe Line, which transports about 720,000 barrels per day of diesel and gasoline to metro areas along its route from Louisiana to Washington, D.C. The pipeline is operated by Kinder Morgan, the “largest independent transporter of petroleum products in North America,” according to the company’s website.

A Kinder Morgan spokesperson said the company estimates the spill resulted in the release of around 420 gallons.

Initial findings show that the fuel did not escape into a nearby creek. Kinder Morgan’s vice president of public affairs told the Lawrenceville City Council Monday that six families were evacuated. He said they have returned to their homes.

The pipeline was shut off, but the company confirmed that it has since been repaired and restarted.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action order, requiring that Kinder Morgan operate the pipeline at reduced pressure, analyze the cause of the leak and submit a work plan for repairing the affected area.

A spokesperson for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division confirmed that the agency is also investigating the incident and that remediation work is underway.

The spill and temporary shutdown of the pipeline do not appear to have had a major impact on gas prices around the metro area. However, gas prices have been rising in recent days, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ripples through global markets.

- Staff writers Tamar Hallerman and Michael Kanell contributed to this report.

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