Johnson Road Trail Creek Suspected Pipeline Oil Spill

Michigan City, IN - Region V


Site Contact:

Ramon Mendoza
On-Scene Coordinator

Michigan City, IN 46360

Latitude: 41.6744300
Longitude: -86.8456300
NRC#: 963412

: Site is a rural area south of Michigan City , Indiana where Trail Creek, Johnson Road, and I-94 intersect. There is a DNR Fisheries public access adjacent and the creek is a designated salmon/trout stream. The creek is a direct tributary to Lake Michigan and is approx 7.5 stream miles from Lake Michigan. The area is primarily in a natural state with mostly rural residential and some commercial uses just out of site of the creek. Free product and oil sheen has been observed flowing out of a storm water outfall from I-94, There is a 10 inch Marathan Pipeline located about 160 feet west of the storm water outfall. The pipeline if a 10” refined product line from terminals in Griffith, IN to another near Muskegon, MI operated by Marathon Pipe Lines installed in the 1960’s. It also follows I-94 just south of Trail Creek, but turns north along the west side of Johnson Rd and passes under the creek and highway before turning east again. This line moves various product types through it by means of batching.

Indiana DNR rec’d initial report about Dec. 21, 2010 from citizen and confirmed presence of sheen and odor. Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and La Porte County Haz Mat investigated and discovered a steady oil sheen being released from I-94 storm drain. They deployed containment measures such as an overflow dam and absorbent booms on Trail Creek and worked to identify possible sources. Initially thought to be an unreported diesel release from unidentified truck, the county was going to monitor until it finished washing out.

After over 1 week of monitoring IDEM observed increasing levels of free product. No UST or AST’s can be identified in the area, nor any record or evidence of any large vehicular release found and suspected that the Marathon Pipe Line closeby may be the possible source. Upon notification Marathon shut down the pipeline, which means it has been without flow but contains product under pressure, since about 4:20 pm Thur 30 Dec.

IDEM requested for USEPA Region 5 assistance on Dec. 30, 2010 and the County Haz Mat team reported the spill to the NRC on Dec.30, 2010. USEPA OSC mobilized to the site on Dec. 31, 2010.

For additional information, visit the Pollution/Situation Report (Pol/Sitreps) section.



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