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South Suburban Oil Spill Closes Streets, Halts Metra Trains

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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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ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – For the second time in the past four months, south suburban Romeoville has been hit by a crude oil spill.

A passerby noticed the leak at 7:06 a.m. just south of 135th Street on New Avenue in Lockport, along the boundary with Romeoville, according to Rich Berndt, Lockport Township Fire Protection District Director of Fire Prevention.

The leak was stopped within 15 minutes but crews remain at the scene as of 3 p.m. continuing clean-up efforts, Berndt said.

“We’re just trying to get rid of the oil and soak it up,” Berndt said. “We’re using all kinds of applications, pads that suck it up and other materials.”

He said there was no safety concern for residents near the leak.

Will County Sheriff’s police said a 12-inch pipeline going into the Citgo Refinery had been leaking, but is now stopped.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the pipeline, owned by West Shore Pipe Line Co., was shut down. Federal officials say early estimates show 21,000 gallons of oil may have been released.

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

The northbound and southbound lanes of New Avenue in Romeoville were shut down due to a crude oil spill on Tuesday. New Avenue was closed from Archer Avenue in Lockport to 135th Street in Romeoville.

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.

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

In September, another oil pipeline ruptured in Romeoville, causing 256,000 gallons of crude oil to leak into a retention pond and Romeoville’s wastewater treatment plant.

The September spill was believed to be the result of rocks that punctured the pipeline.

The pipeline was closed to stop the leak, which disrupted the supply of crude oil to Midwestern refineries, which in turn translated into higher prices at the gas pump for consumers. The pipeline supplies about 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Midwest refineries.

Enbridge Energy Partners donated $75,000 to the Village of Romeoville Emergency Response Agency after the spill. Romeoville will use the money to buy an emergency command vehicle.

(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)

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