Underground Oil Pipeline Near Tracy Ruptures for Second Time This Year

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TRACY -- For the second time in less than a year, a broken pipeline has caused an oil spill at a Shell pipeline facility outside of Tracy.

About 500 barrels of crude oil seeped into the ground at the site Friday morning, according to a Shell company spokesman. That leaking crude saturated the soil enough to be visible from above.

"Yeah there was a little bit of oil that presented on the top, on the surface. We were very fortunate that no one was impacted, and there was no livestock or wildlife that was impacted," said Alan Hunsberger with the Shell Pipeline Company.

It was 250-by-40-foot patch of top soil that showed the crude. The contaminated soil has been dug out as Shell investigates why this same line, the San Pablo Bay Line, has ruptured twice here in nine months.

"Wow. That's kind of scary," said Tammy Stoneham, a neighbor to the Shell facility.

Stoneham and some other neighbors to the site said they weren't aware of this spill or the last one this past fall.

"I thought I heard something today, but I thought it was near water. I guess I was wrong," Stoneham said.

Shell says that no oil made it into nearby water supplies, and they are monitoring the air as well.

"And we've picked up no actionable levels. And we've had no incidents and no exposures. And that's really the best part about this," Hunsberger said.

This latest break in the pipeline has been repaired. Shell has also done some pressure testing to check if the line is sound but hasn't determined yet when they'll start sending crude back through the line.

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