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BP Repairs Pipe After Fuel Discovered in Indiana Sewers

BP PLC plans to conduct pressure tests of a pipeline that has leaked at least 1,700 gallons of petroleum into sewers in the northwestern Indiana city of Hammond, before reopening the pipe.

A 1-inch crack in the pipe was found on Thursday and that section of the pipe was replaced Sunday. Upon discovery of the petroleum in the sewers, a 3 mile long section of the pipe was closed down to prevent any further leaking.

The leak was discovered after residents in the area reported smelling strong gas fumes. The petroleum running through the pipes is a mixture of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent diesel fuel.

The White Oak pipeline sends finished fuels from the 405,000-barrel-a-day Whiting refinery through Hammond, Indiana, and on to terminals in Chicago and Manhattan, about 35 miles away. The area was all farmland when the pipe was laid in 1947. Today there are several homes in the area, some within feet of the pipeline.

BP officials reported that leaks like this are common in the pipelines and also said that once the pipeline returns to operating conditions, the excavated area, which included streets and sidewalks, will be replaced.

Local officials are investigating the pipe for corrosion, and the EPA continues to monitor the air quality.

Photo courtesy of City Data