WHITE OAK TOWNSHIP (AP) – Gasoline was found leaking from the ground in Michigan and crews worked for a second day Friday to determine the source of the leak and prevent it from flowing into waterways.

Crews have contained leaking gasoline, which flowed about a mile down an open drain in Ingham County’s White Oak Township, about 55 miles west of Detroit, Ingham County Drain Commissioner Patrick Lindemann said. The leak, which was reported Wednesday by a farmer, has since slowed, he said.

“A very dangerous and volatile situation, I think, has been arrested,” Lindemann told The Associated Press on Friday.

The amount of gasoline that leaked had not been determined, Lindemann said. He described the leak when it was detected as like a running kitchen faucet and on Friday morning that was a trickle.

There are large gasoline storage tanks in the area owned by Portage-based Wolverine Pipe Line Co. as well as petroleum pipelines, and those could be a source, Lindemann said. Wolverine was working with the county, which was notified Thursday morning.

The drain runs into two creeks before emptying into the Red Cedar River, which flows into the Grand River.

Gasoline hadn’t reached the creeks as of Friday morning, Lindemann said. The cleanup could take weeks.

Wolverine spokesman Tom Shields said a farmer smelled the gasoline leaking into an open drain next to a farm field. He said crews are boring holes into the field and pulling up samples.

Trucks at the scene were sucking up gasoline, and a trench was dug alongside the open drain where any other leaking gasoline was being captured, Lindemann said. Absorbent pads were being placed in the area to soak up the gasoline, and water tests were taking place to ensure drinking water was safe.

“We don’t know the extent of the leak or the source,” he said.

There was no immediate danger in the area, the Ingham County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in a statement. Groundwater tests so far appeared OK, Lindemann said. Still, any area residents concerned about drinking water were being advised to use bottled water until test results were returned.

Shields said Wolverine brings about 40 percent of the gasoline into Michigan through pipelines. 
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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