Pipeline companies respond to 'refined product' release in Marion

Hazmat units respond to piece of land off Gembler Road

MARION, Texas – Officials from two pipeline companies are working with Guadalupe County Emergency responders, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Railroad Commission of Texas to investigate the release of a "refined product" near Marion.

According to Deanna Altenhoff, director of public affairs for Koch Companies, the release was first discovered sometime Wednesday on a piece of land located off of Gembler Road just outside Marion.

Altenhoff said the Koch Pipeline Company and Exxon are investigating the release.

Ramona Nye, spokeswoman for the Railroad Commission of Texas, said Koch and Exxon notified the commission's Pipeline Safety Division on Wednesday and crews with Koch began excavating its pipeline then to determine if it is the source of the leak.

Investigators with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Region 13 (San Antonio) were also at the scene Wednesday. They said the material spilled was refined oil - unknown refined hydrocarbon, but don't have an estimation on how much was spilled.

A TCEQ representative released a statement on Thursday saying that a light sheen was present on an unnamed tributary feeding into the Santa Clara Creek. The representative said Koch installed booms both upstream and downstream on the creek as a precautionary measure to prevent further migration of the sheen.

Nye said Santa Clara Creek is not flowing.

She said if Koch determines it is not a leak on their line, Exxon will begin excavating its line to determine if it is the source of the leak. Both lines are about 25 feet apart, and the Koch line carries diesel and the Exxon line carries gasoline.

Air-monitoring is being conducted by Koch, the TCEQ representative said, but no elevated readings have been noted and no immediate threat has been identified.

Altenhoff said residents in the area have been notified and have been offered to be temporarily relocated but so far no one has taken them up on the offer.

No injuries have been reported and an investigation continues.

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