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Cal Sag Spill: Was it Handled Well?

Do you still have concerns about the jet fuel leak in Palos Park last week? What questions would you like officials to address?

A little more than a week ago, a section of the Badger Pipeline System sprung a leak, .

No one was hurt when the pipeline failed Police said a few hours after the Monday spill that fumes from the fuel dissipated and remediation work had already begun. The Cal-Sag Channel reopened Tuesday after the U.S. Coast Guard found the waterway safe for use.

Company officials who operate the pipeline said the controllers stopped the leak in less than a minute but the aftermath took until Friday to fix and reopen to the public. Traffic was allowed back on the roadway (Route 83) late Friday afternoon after the section had been replaced. Several days of work were needed to fashion a piece of pipe as a replacement.

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The leak lead to many questions from Palos Patch readers about the lasting impact of the incident.

Here are a few comments and queries:

"You really wonder what the long term [sic] consequences are going to be as far as this spill is concerned."

: "Are the hiking trails or forest preserve areas used by the public affected by the fuel spill? Is it safe for bikers and hikers to use the forest preserves in this area?"

A Palos Park official took a few minutes last week to address some of the questions raised by readers. Here are some of the responses from , Commissioner of Public Health and Safety:

Just wanted all who are curious to know that the Village of Palos Park has been asking MANY questions about the short, medium and long term [sic] effects of this spilled fuel. IAs the Commissioner of Public Health and Safety for the Village, I will use ALL the resources at my disposal to answer these questions. In addition, I will be organising an information session that will encourage public participation. I would assure the residents that the village is NOT relying solely on the information being released by the pipeline company. Both the state and local environmental protection agencies have been involved in the process from the initial notification which occurred early Moday morning. I am happy to answer any questions anyone may have at this point or in the future.

One of the good things about this crisis has been the participation of the Environmental Protection Agency. National, state and local representation have been invaluable to the Village. Currently, there is ongoing monitoring of air, soil and water samples to determine the extent of the damage and to insure that no workers or residents are needlessly exposed to the hazardous fuel. Once the extent of the damage and subsequent remediation are known, we can better project what lies in our collective future. One thing we will NOT do is rely solely on the Pipeline company for information. While they have been very responsive to this point they clearly have a vested interest in the outcome which may not reflect those of our residents. More to follow as information becomes available. Again- I would encourage anyone with questions to talk to us at the Village or leave a message for me directly at dan.polk@ymail.com.

Read Palos Patch's coverage:

How do you feel the Village of Palos Park and other officials handled the cleanup? Tell us in the comments.

Dianna September 04, 2012 at 12:06 PM
I live very close to the spill, and I feel Palos Park was excellent at keeping the residents informed. Thanks to all who worked around the clock to clean it up.
daniel polk September 05, 2012 at 05:12 AM
As most know, repairs to the ruptured pipeline have been completed and Route 83 reopened. Cleanup of the area continued through the Labor Day weekend and is expected to be complete this week. Next Monday night, the Palos Park Village Council will be receiving reports from the pipeline owners, the environmental protection agencies and our own hired environmental expert. The meeting will take place at the Kaptur Administrative Center at 7:30 PM. As with all out council meetings, all are encouraged to attend. There will be an opportunity for the public (Palos Park residents or not) to ask questions and participate in the discussion. Any questions? You can always e-mail me directly at dan.polk@ymail.com. Dan Polk
daniel polk September 05, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I was just notified that the pipeline will undergo a pressure test starting on September 7th at 10 PM lasting for 8-10 h. During this time, the entire run of pipe from East Chicago to O'Hare will be tested as the company seeks to determine if there are any other issues with the pipeline. During the test, the pipeline will be filled with water in an attempt to minimize any exposure should the pipe fail. When I know the results of the testing, I will post information. Again, the Palos Park City Council meeting scheduled for this coming Monday, September 9, at 7:30 PM in the Kaptur Center will include an open forum to discuss the spill, remediation efforts and any environmental concerns. If you have any questions or concerns, you should e-mail me directly at dan.polk@ymail.com. Dan Polk

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