Work crews are working through the night to cleanup gas that escaped through a small leak in a 20-inch gasoline pipeline, detouring southbound traffic between New Amwell and Amwell roads.
According to Buckeye Pipe Line's Incident and Crisis Management Team information officer David Boone, about 25 gallons are believed to have escaped from the leak on Monday. The leak has been traced to an area beneath Route 206, where the pipeline is encased within a concrete sleeve.
"We are aware of aproximately where the leak is; we are investigating to find out what has caused it," Boone said. "It is a leak, it's not a major rupture by any means."
He added the area of the leak is "safe and secure." The cleanup involved vacuuming the gas and water out of the affected area, Boone said.
He said the leak was small enough to escape detection by the company's pressure monitors, and that the company was notified of the leak.
Local officials have been tracing the leak, which is believed to have infiltrated sewers. Residents on Weber Avenue reported smelling gas in basements on Saturday, and additional complaints were made on Sunday.
Local emergency responders and the Somerset County Hazmat Team were able to trace the leak back to the area Monday, and work began early Tuesday morning to begin the clean-up and repairs.
Boone appeared before the Township Committee Tuesday, with OEM Director John Sheridan, assuring officials the company would stay in town as the work progressed.
"I can assure you that Buckeye will be here until it is fixed, including planting grass and repairing streets," he said.
Boone said the company is testing soil and monitoring air quality as the work is underway.
Sheridan told committee members township Health Officer Glen Belnay has been onsite, and the cleanup work is being coordinated with Dr. Belnay and the DEP, which is also monitoring the cleanup and will be following up with the work.
The pipeline transports as much as 140,000 barrels of gasoline from Linden to Macungie, Pa., southwest of Allentown, and is operated by the Buckeye Pipe Line Co., of Breinigsville, Pa.