ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Commerce said that 108 loads of gasoline with above-regulation concentrations of ethanol were distributed to more than 60 gas stations and coops over a four-hour period on October 8.
As reported in CSP Daily News yesterday, gasoline sales were suspended Tuesday at numerous stations in southern Minnesota after officials at the Magellan Midstream Partners LLC distribution facility near Mankato found that it was shipping fuel with higher-than-intended levels of ethanol (see Related Content, below).
Commissioner Mike Rothman said the Commerce Department has been closely monitoring the situation and has been working with the distributor and station owners since Monday afternoon to address the problem.
"We are directing the full attention of our Weights & Measures Division to help resolve this situation and protect consumers from purchasing bad gasoline," said Rothman. "Our investigators are completing inspections of stations we suspect were affected by this situation, and working directly with the distributor and station owners to ensure that bad fuel is not being sold to consumers, and is being replaced immediately."
Due to a technical malfunction at the Magellan Midstream Partners Petroleum plant in Mankato on Saturday, gasoline containing high levels of ethanol reached more than 60 stations and coops in 21 communities throughout southern Minnesota on Saturday, including Austin, Mankato, North Mankato, New Ulm, Redwood Falls, Sleepy Eye, Albert Lea, Renville, Owatonna, Olivia, Winnebago, LeSueur, Springfield, St. Peter, Belle Plaine, Blue Earth, Hector, Winthrop, Morgan, Gaylord and Fairmont.
Stations owned by La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. were among those affected.
Magellan informed the Commerce Department that it was working to retrieve and replace bad gasoline distributed from its Mankato facility. The department directed Magellan to provide a report detailing a specific account of what happened and which stations were involved, what specifically was done to correct the problem, a detailed plan to ensure this kind of problem will never happen again. Magellan has agreed to fulfill that request.
Weights & Measures staff is using bill of lading records to determine which stations in the area have been affected. This is a time-consuming process, it said, because some contaminated gasoline was sent to bulk plants and secondary distributors. Investigators are completing field inspections to verify that identified stations did receive contaminated product, have removed the product from sale and have replaced it with product that meets ASTM standards.
Part of that inspection will include taking laboratory samples. One sample tested late Monday afternoon contained a 63% concentration of ethanol--well above the standard 10% maximum.
Some fuel suppliers are now being sent to the Magellan terminal in Mason City, Iowa, Magellan in order to get good fuel back to southern Minnesota, added a report by KIMT-TV.
Magellan has issued the following statement:
"Last weekend, due to a problem at Magellan's Mankato, Minn., petroleum terminal, we loaded gasoline with a higher level of ethanol than permitted by the state of Minnesota. This fuel was subsequently delivered to individual gasoline stations in Mankato and some surrounding communities. Some of the gasoline which contained high ethanol content was sold to individual motorists before the problem was identified. We are working to determine why this occurred and to identify preventive measures to ensure that this does not happen again. Magellan accepts responsibility for this unfortunate incident.
"Most importantly, we apologize to any motorists who may have be impacted by this incident. We similarly apologize to our customers, suppliers, distributors and marketers, service station and convenience store owners who have been affected.
"Magellan's Mankato diesel fuel operations were unaffected by this event and have remained open. Magellan's transport truck loading operations for gasoline at its other terminals in Minnesota and the Midwest continue to operate, with additional precautionary measures to ensure that the gasoline continues to meet all appropriate standards.
"Magellan is working with the Minnesota Department of Consumer Protection to ensure that appropriate measures are in place before resuming gasoline truck loading operations at our Mankato terminal."
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