Colonial Pipeline fuel leak nothing new for the company

Posted at 3:46 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 16:46:15-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A fuel line near Nashville International Airport and operated by Colonial Pipeline was ruptured Tuesday afternoon after it was struck by a third party contractor.

While this latest rupture doesn't currently appear to be Colonial Pipeline's fault, it's worth pointing out that the company has a history of fuel leaks, and the lines that run from Atlanta to Nashville - Lines 19 and 20 - have been responsible for a number of them.

Within the last few years, beginning in 2012, Colonial Pipeline has been the subject of several reports of gasoline odors, fuel leaks, and pipeline shutdowns.

In 2012, Colonial had to shut down Line 19 after reports of a gasoline odor near the company's Moccasin Bend facility in Chattanooga. Following that incident, it was discovered that about 500 gallons of fuel had leaked near the Tennessee River.

Fast forward to September 16, 2016, when a Colonial Pipeline leak in Shelby County, Ala. resulted in the spilling of nearly 6,000 barrels of gasoline. Then-Governor Bill Haslam issued a state of emergency, waiving the hours of service requirements for petroleum truck drivers.

“This is a precautionary measure as we are not currently seeing any widespread unavailability of petroleum in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “We urge Tennesseans to maintain their normal fuel purchasing and driving patterns to help prevent any potential impacts on our fuel supply while the pipeline undergoes repairs.”

The news of the fuel leak in Alabama caused panic, though, and not a a full day later, the gas supply in Tennessee had run low. That shortage lasted for just a few days before Colonial Pipeline had gasoline pumps restored.

Normally, that would be the end of the issue, but on October 31, just a little over a month later, an explosion erupted from a Colonial pipe just miles away from the leak that had sprung that September. One was killed, and five others were injured.

After that incident, in January 2017, another pipe shutdown in Chattanooga that sounds conspicuously like the one from 2012 occurred; however, that leak failed to reach the Tennessee River.

News on Colonial Pipeline pipes in Tennessee had been quiet since then, until the leak at Nashville International Airport this past Tuesday afternoon. According to Colonial Pipeline, Line 20 has been restored following that leak. They have not yet said anything about Line 19 being restored.