Keystone Oil Pipeline Leak – Land Affected Bigger Than Thought

In Eastern North Dakota a crude oil spill has turned out to affect almost 10 times the amount of land it was first thought to.  A North Dakota environmental scientist said the leak reported on Oct. 29 is now estimated to have affected about 209,100 square feet of land. Initially state regulators reported the leak to only be affecting about 22,500 square feet.

A Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy estimates 383,000 gallons of oil leaked from their pipeline. The cause of the spill is still unknown, but the affected portion of the pipe has been sent to a third-party laboratory for inspection. TC Energy had the pipeline return to service on Nov. 10 after approval of a repair and restart plan issued by the U.S Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The pipeline carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven states. It was instantly shut down when the leak was reported. The emergency response team contained the impacted area and it was said that the oil had not migrated beyond the immediately affected area. The company did report that it had recovered 337,500 gallons of oil, and 141,834 gallons of oily water. Although wetlands were affected, it was announced that not any sources of drinking water were. TC Energy stated people were at the site working around the clock to clean up the spill once it was reported. TC Energy has put up beams around the affected area as they are excavating any/all contaminated soil at depths of up to 6 feet. The affected soil is being accumulated before being taken to a landfill.

Crude has been flowing through the pipeline since 2011. It is designed to carry crude oil from Saskatchewan and Manitoba through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri on its way to refineries in Illinois, and Oklahoma. This is part of a system that is to include the proposed $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline designed to transport oil from western Canada to terminals on the Gulf Coast. This proposed Keystone XL pipeline has drawn resistance from individuals due to the fear it could cause to the environment. This pipeline leak will only raise more opposition because with thousands of miles from Canada to the Gulf Coast and all the pipeline it will take to transfer the crude oil, a possibility of another leak may just be inevitable.