COTTONWOOD, Minn. — A broken pipeline that caused an undetermined amount of diesel fuel to flow into a drainage ditch and the Yellow Medicine River may have been intentionally damaged.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said a suspect has been identified for allegedly damaging the pipeline Wednesday night, April 24, near Cottonwood and causing diesel fuel to leak into downstream waters.

The issue has been turned over to the Lyon County Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges.

The ruptured pipeline was reported at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when operators at Magellan Midstream pipeline control center observed a pressure drop associated with their eight-inch refined products pipeline near Cottonwood.

Representatives from Magellan Midstream, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, closed the valves on the system Wednesday night and fuel was found to be leaking from a small hole in the pipeline.

The leak was stopped around 10:30 p.m. and crews began working to recover the product.

In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, Bruce Heine, media contact with Magellan Midstream, said crews at the scene are focused on containment and recovery operations along the drainage ditch.

“We have made significant progress recovering a high percentage of the available diesel fuel in the drainage ditch, which ultimately flows into the Yellow Medicine River,” he said.

Heine said, however, that “minor remnants of a petroleum sheen have passed through the containment areas along the drainage ditch into the Yellow Medicine River. We are continuing cleanup operations on the drainage ditch.”

He said repairs on the affected segment of the pipeline have not yet begun and because of that, the segment of Magellan’s pipeline between Willmar and Marshall will remain out of service.

Cottonwood is about 54 miles southwest of Willmar.