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Gasoline pipeline spill releases 250,000 gallons

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A gasoline pipeline spill in southern New Mexico has been contained, but not before more than 250,000 gallons of gas were released into an irrigation ditch, the state Environment Department announced Friday.

Kinder Morgan’s Santa Fe Pacific Pipeline that runs from El Paso to Tucson, Ariz., broke near Anthony on the New Mexico/Texas border on Dec. 13, a company spokeswoman said Friday.

“I would characterize this as a significant spill,” said Cullen Combs, emergency manager for Doña Ana County.

Combs said around three homes in the rural location near the spill had to be evacuated because of “an explosive hazard,” Combs said.

“While no active waterways were affected, the Rio Grande is approximately one mile away from the site,” according to a release from the New Mexico Environment Department.

Kinder Morgan conducted sampling on nearby domestic wells and “the results … indicate no adverse impacts to the area,” Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Katherine Hill wrote in an email Friday.

The company, which discovered the spill late on Dec. 13, repaired the damaged segment and resumed normal operations Thursday, she said.

The gasoline spilled into a dirt irrigation ditch not currently being used.

As of Wednesday, 168,000 gallons of the spilled gasoline had been recovered.

Hill said all “free product” has been removed from the ditch and that remediation is underway.

“We continue to work closely with local authorities on cleanup and restoration plans,” Hill said.

The cause of the spill is still under investigation, she said.