Giant Oil Spill Could Take Weeks To Fix

Clean-up on the Keystone Pipeline rupture that spilled about 14,000 barrels of crude oil into a Kansas creek two weeks ago could take weeks to complete, local officials said last Tuesday.

Federal and state environmental officials have been working to mitigate the fallout from the December 7 rupture. TC Energy, the Canadian pipeline operator, said last Monday that it has yet to determine the cause of the incident.

Officials from TC Energy met with the Washington County, Kansas Board of Commissioners last Monday to brief the panel on cleanup operations. The rupture, which occurred near Mill Creek, Kansas, had been “contained,” according to TC Energy.

The Environmental Protection Agency reported that some of the thousands of barrels of crude oil ran downhill into the creek. However, both TC Energy and government officials said no drinking water supplies were affected by the December 7 spill, and no oil reached larger waterways.

TC Energy said in a statement last Wednesday that the Keystone system has restarted operations from Canada to southern Nebraska, and from there to south-central Illinois. It also began operating the pipeline from northern Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, after the December 7spill forced the company to shut down the Keystone system.

According to the statement, the affected area of the pipeline “remains safely isolated as investigation, recovery, repair, and remediation continues to advance.” TC Energy will keep the affected pipeline shut down “until it is safe” to restart it.

The Kansas spill was the largest to occur on the 2,700-mile Keystone system since it began operations in 2010 and the largest on-shore spill since September 2013 when the Tesoro Corp. pipeline ruptured in North Dakota and leaked 20,600 barrels of crude oil, according to Department of Transportation data.

The Environmental Protection Agency reported on December 9 that four dead animals and 71dead fish had been recovered.