Many Questions About White Oak Township Spill Unanswered

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

Homeowners in a packed room at White Oak Township's town hall building Tuesday night came to a Q&A meeting with a number of questions... some of which were answered.

"One of the big questions posed to me was is Ingham County or White Oak Township paying for this?" said Sgt. Robert Ott with Ingham County Emergency Management. "The answer is no, absolutely not."

That responsibility falls to Marathon Petroleum, the owner of a gas pipe that's spilled approximately 126,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline into the ground. Although Marathon says it's found the source of the leak, a broken gasket near a storage tank, the cause is still a mystery.

"[Gaskets] last a very long time," said Rob Roy, an incident commander with Marathon. "Typically you'll replace the valve first and then the gasket... to be honest with you we don't know what caused the leak."

Also unanswered, how long the leak had been going on and why the leak wasn't caught earlier.

Currently Marathon's cleanup efforts have recovered 26,000 gallons from the soil. Roy said the company's goal is to get as much out as possible, but didn't have a timeline for how long that might take.

Marathon also couldn't tell property owners if or when they would get compensated if the spill causes home values to decline.

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