U.S. Oil McChord Pipeline spill

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

An underground pipeline leak discovered in Parkland, Washington, has been contained and fuel in the line has been isolated.

Summary information

Date of incident:  August 2, 2017

100th St. at A St. South, Tacoma, WA

Type of incident: Jet fuel/undetermined
Cause of incident: Damage by machinery
Responsible party: Undetermined
Fuel spill stain on pavement.

Fuel spill stain on pavement.

Status updates

August 10, 2017

The Spills Program has finished its response at the incident site. We are referring the remainder of the site cleanup to Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program.

August 4, 2017

A permanent repair is being made to the pipeline today in an effort to get it back into service by early next week. The pipeline owner, U.S. Oil and Refining, estimates they have removed 1,300 gallons of liquid fuel from the site and 400 gallons in soil. Work continues to remove contaminated soil from the site. Additional information will be posted on this site as it becomes available.

Repairs to the pipeline are going well. Workers expect to finish welding on replacement piece of pipeline by the end of today. The rest of the weekend will be spent testing the pipeline with a goal of getting it back into service next week. Excavation of the contaminated soil and asphalt continues. Ongoing air monitoring continues to show that levels are safe. The closed roadway is expected to open the morning of August 9.

August 3, 2017

Late last night, responders and contractors removed asphalt and soil to get to the pipeline breach. They discovered a 3-5 inch gash that was leaking kerosene jet fuel. This product was residual left in the pipeline after it was shut down. A clamp was placed over the hole in the pipeline and has stopped any residual product from leaking. Soil remediation and work to repair the pipeline will begin today. Duration of the pipeline shutdown is still unclear, but quick repairs will help minimize impacts to the military base.

U.S. Oil & Refining Co., owner of the McChord Pipeline, calculated a maximum potential jet fuel release of approximately 25,000 gallons, which is the maximum amount of fuel in the pipeline between two shut-off valves. The calculation also takes into account the amount of time before they were closed. It is unknown how much of that product may have spilled to soil and how much may remain in the pipeline. As of this morning, 1,000 gallons has been recovered. No surface water impacts have been observed.

Air monitoring continues to protect public health and there are road closures in the area. About a half-block of land area is affected by the incident.

This website will be updated as new information becomes available.

Air monitoring is being conducted in the area, and currently all readings are below public safety levels of concern. Air monitoring results are being relayed to the unified command.

If you smell the fuel and feel that you are impacted, here are some recommendations:

  • Avoid the area if you can. If you are smelling oil, move to fresh air.
  • Young children and people with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the areas near the spill site or where the fuel can be smelled.
  • If you experience symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness or throat irritation, leave the area immediately. If the symptoms do not resolve within a short time frame, seek medical attention.
  • Everyone's personal health situation is different. Consult your healthcare provider with questions about your personal health situation.

August 2, 2017

The underground pipeline leak discovered today in Parkland, Washington, has been contained and fuel in the line has been isolated. As of 3:00pm (PDT), none of the leaked fuel has reached local surface water. The Department of Ecology is supporting local authorities as they respond to an as-yet-unknown quantity of spilled jet fuel. Construction in the area of A Street East and 100th Street East is believed to have played a role in the pipeline puncture but the exact cause is still under investigation. The McChord Pipeline, which is owned by U.S. Oil, shut down automatically when pressure dropped.

No final determinations have been made about the amount spilled.

Air quality is still being monitored in the area and there are currently no evacuations. A nearby apartment building was voluntarily evacuated earlier today while air was monitored, but residents were allowed to return to their homes after monitoring results proved negative.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Media contact

Ty Keltner, Media contact, Ty.Keltner@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6990

U.S. Oil & Refining
Marcia Nielsen