massive leak from Colonial Pipeline’s Line 1 recently prompted both Alabama and Georgia to declare a state of emergency over concerns of fuel shortages after an estimated 346,000 gallons of gasoline spewed from an underground section of the pipeline. The leak, which was discovered on September 9, 2016 south of Birmingham, Alabama after a worker smelled gasoline fumes, led to a 12-day shutdown of the 1.3 million-barrel-a-day pipeline, sparking a massive fuel shortage throughout a majority of the Southeast United States.

While the pipeline has now been restarted, considerable work still remains to clean up the leaked fuel, much of which flowed overland to a mining retention pond roughly 500 feet away. High levels of unsafe gasoline vapors have thus far prevented efforts to dig out the leaking section of the pipeline. The extent of the environmental impact of the spill has yet to be determined, though reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate that seven dead mammals have been recovered at the site, along with four turtles and two birds. The United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is currently investigating the cause of the leak, as well as any indicators of a potential failure of operators to adhere to pipeline safety standards.

This incident serves as a prime example of why petroleum companies must regularly inspect pipelines for corrosion and closely monitor their structural integrity to ensure the safety of people throughout the United States. As a result of the spill, nearby residents as well as sensitive wildlife and endangered species native to the Cahaba River may be at risk of exposure to dangerous levels of volatile petroleum fumes. While much of the spill was contained to a relatively small area, its proximity to a nearby major water intake has prompted concern from many over the safety of local drinking water. As it stands, the EPA has yet to issue any sort of formal safety warnings related to the incident.


If you or a loved one have become ill from gasoline exposure in connection with the Colonial Pipeline spill or suffered property damage, contact Glenda Cochran Associates Attorneys at LawOur AV Preeminent® Rated attorneys have fought to protect the rights of injured clients for more than 25 years and have secured millions in verdicts and settlements along the way. To find out if you are eligible to receive compensation, we invite you to contact our office online or call us today at (888) 906-3955.