Riverview residents back home after ammonia leak

11/14/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

In Riverview, life is becoming back to normal for the residents who were told to evacuate Monday evening after a teenager drilled into an ammonia line, unleashing a gas cloud that seriously burned him and created a potential environmental hazard.

At a noontime news conference, state Sen. Ronda Storms today ripped into Tampa Pipeline Corp., the company that owns the line. Storms referenced a similar incident 4 years ago, after which the company promised to ensure such an incident would never happen again.

Storms said she would work closely with all of the local agencies to demand that Tampa Pipeline be accountable for this leak, which occurred as a boy tried to drilled into an exposed portion of the pipeline at the bridge crossing of U.S. 301 in Riverview.

Local authorities ended up closing the stretch of U.S. 301 near the Alafia River for about 42 hours in all.

Benjamin Franco, with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Atlanta office, said that as of noon today, there had been no visible impact from the ammonia leak on the Alafia River.

Meanwhile , some Riverview residents are not happy with how Hillsborough County interacted with them during this crisis, which led to the evacuation of some 3,700 homes near U.S. 301.

A woman named Rikki called WMNF during the Radioactivity call in show with Rob Lorei this afternoon to complain about the communications.

Also, in Washington, Congressman Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, questioned the head of the Transportation Authority, Kip Hawley about the security conditions and inspection of pipelines in the Tampa bay area.

Following the hearing, Bilirakis said the ammonia pipeline leak should be a wakeup call about the vulnerabilities of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure. He said the pipelines could be "sitting ducks" for a terrorist attack.

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