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EPA Monitoring Cleanup Of Suburban Oil Leak

Romeoville Oil Spill

A 12-inch crude oil pipeline going into the Citgo Refinery was leaking on Dec. 14, 2010. Crews managed to stop the leak, but it was unknown how much oil was spilled. (Credit: CBS)

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LOCKPORT, Ill. (STMW/AP) – A crude oil spill closed New Avenue in southwest suburban Romeoville and delayed passenger rail service Tuesday.

Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring the cleanup of the oil leak from an underground pipe in southwest suburban Romeoville and Lockport.

Officials with the Lockport Township Fire Protection District discovered the leak in an industrial area around 7 a.m. Tuesday after a complaint about petroleum odors.

The EPA says the pipeline has been shut down. And fire district spokesman Rich Berndt says the leak has stopped. Federal officials say early estimates show 21,000 gallons of oil may have been released.

The pipeline is owned by West Shore Pipe Line Co. Spokeswoman Colleen Kester says temporary repairs have been made and the company is working on a plan to restart the pipeline.

The underground pipeline feeds into tanks in Lockport, which is 35 miles southwest of Chicago.

The cleanup effort is taking place about a half-mile south of 135th Street on New Avenue where the leak was discovered about 60 feet from the west side of road.

The leak was stopped before 10:30 a.m. but a HazMat team remained on the scene taking air quality readings. It was not know how much oil had spilled or how long the rupture was open. Reports indicate Citgo does not own the pipeline going into their facility.

“The oil spilled 300 feet from its origin into a wetland area,” police said, “but there does not appear to be any danger to the (nearby) I&M Canal.”

Crews worked to collect the spilled oil.

“We’re just trying to get rid of the oil and soak it up,” said Rich Berndt, Lockport Township Fire Protection District director of fire prevention. “We’re using all kinds of applications, pads that suck it up and other materials.”

Metra’s morning trains were not allowed to pass through the area on the Canadian National tracks. Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said service was cleared to resume around 3:30 p.m.

“The evening trains will have some delays because they’ll be operating at reduced speeds through that area,” she said. Wednesday morning’s trains were expected to operate on schedule.

Amtrak trains were also delayed or canceled Tuesday morning and afternoon due to the spill.

The incident is the second recent pipeline spill in the Romeoville area.

On Sept. 9, a mixture of crude oil and water came spewing from the ground at the middle of an industrial park in the 700 block of Parkwood Avenue.

The oil went into nearby sewage and drainage systems, a creek and a retention pond that runs into a tributary of the Des Plaines River.

The pipeline was shut down for a week and the air quality around the leak was considered toxic. About 15,000 barrels of oil and water were recovered from the leak.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.