HomeOutdoorsNewsMysterious Kansas Oil Spill Becomes Largest in Keystone Pipeline History

Mysterious Kansas Oil Spill Becomes Largest in Keystone Pipeline History

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: onuma Inthapong

After a bizarre break in the Keystone pipeline, crews in Kansas are working all weekend to clean up the most extensive U.S. crude oil spill in nearly a decade.

According to reports, the pipeline from Canada to Oklahoma ruptured recently, losing nearly 588,000 gallons of oil. Officials believe the oil spill is larger than any previous ruptures of the Keystone system combined.

After the burst, the oil rushed into a nearby creek, flowing through farmland in Washington county, Kansas. Later, a heavy stench of oil lingered in the air as the cleanup operation began.

Federal investigators were also at the site of the spill, working to find a reason for the leak in the Keystone. According to Pipeline operator TC Energy, it was planning to work to restart lines. They were initially shut down on Wednesday. However, the company did not disclose how the breach began or a date for a potential restart. Despite this, the company plans to investigate the spill thoroughly.

“At the time of the incident, the pipeline was operating within its design and regulatory approval requirements,” the company said in an official statement.

Oil spill runs directly through local farmer’s land, says it won’t be fully resolved until after 2023

For family farmers Chris and Bill Pannbacker, the spill directly affects them as the pipeline runs through their property. According to Bill, the company informed them that the issue wouldn’t be fixed until after the new year.

In addition, Bill said the oil spill affected all the locals as the breach occurred at a popular place for hayrides.

According to Randy Hubbard, the county’s emergency management director, the oil rushed only about a quarter mile. He adds there were no wildlife deaths from the spill.

Now, people are working around the clock to perform air-quality checks and monitor the air quality. The company is also deploying trucks to use their wet vacuums to pull up the oil.

In the past, other Keystone spills have resulted in outages that have lasted over two weeks. However, the company is hopeful they can resume power as soon as possible.

The EPA also announced that no drinking water has been contaminated and oil-removal efforts will continue into next week. In addition, no residents had to evacuate. However, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment urged residents not to enter the nearby creek or allow pets to enter the water under any circumstances.

Thankfully, according to TC Energy and the EPA, the spill has been officially contained. The environmental agency also said the company built an earthen dam across the width of the creek about four miles from the pipeline burst to stop the oil from moving into larger bodies of water.