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Glycol spill at Williams refinery is larger than first thought

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2001

NORTH POLE (AP) -- A chemical spill at the Williams Cos. refinery last week turned out to be larger than first thought, officials with the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Tuesday.

The spill of propylene glycol, an industrial anti-freeze, was first reported Sept. 17. A control room operator at the refinery noticed the amount of the chemical in a drum had dropped by 134 gallons.

A pinhole leak in a line from the drum was discovered the following day and workers searched for other leaks in a buried portion of the line. The leaks were stopped when the line was closed off.

Glycol levels in the drum were monitored for several days to make sure that there were no additional leaks. Williams had determined by Monday that a total of 725 gallons had been released.

DEC officials say the spill may have contaminated groundwater.

''By the time they could figure out how much was gone it had turned into something more significant,'' said DEC spokesman Charles Fedullo.

The leaks were thought to be caused by corrosion in the piping. The line was being excavated and a cleanup plan would be developed after the site was evaluated, DEC officials said.

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