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Keystone Pipeline Leaks 14,000 Barrels of Oil Into Creek

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a Stream Advisory warning residents to not enter the creek and keep livestock, pets, and children out of the creek.

Early on the morning of Dec. 8, TC Energy reported a discharge of crude oil from a TC Energy pipeline near Washington, Kansas. The TC Energy pipeline is part of the Keystone Pipeline system. 

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) found that on December 7, 2022, at approximately 09:01 PM CST a leak detection alarm (volume imbalance) was received. An Emergency-Line Trip alarm was received 6-minutes later.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 dispatched on-scene coordinators (OSCs) to the scene of the reported discharge. State and local responders are also on-scene.

TC Energy has mobilized a response crew originating from Steele City, Nebraska, located about 20 miles north, to begin containment and source control. On Dec. 9, EPA reported that TC Energy had built an earthen underflow dam on Mill Creek, approximately 4 miles downstream of the rupture location, to prevent further migration of the oil. This underflow dam includes one pipe that allows water to pass through, while preventing further migration of oil. TC Energy has mobilized additional resources, such as vacuum trucks and oil skimmers, to support oil recovery from Mill Creek. Oil impacts within Mill Creek are contained upstream of this underflow dam, EPA said, adding that there are no current concerns for oil migration past the underflow dam.

Rain has been forecast for today and crews are beginning preparations to deal with worsening weather.

The PHMSA is also on-scene investigating the cause of the discharge, which is not yet known.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a Stream Advisory warning residents to not enter the creek and keep livestock, pets, and children out of the creek. EPA said in its second update on Dec. 9 that the discharge had been contained, and no drinking water has been impacted.

The Keystone Pipeline is a 2,687-mile hazardous liquid pipeline system between Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, and Patoka, Illinois, and Port Arthur, Texas. The location of the failure reported on Dec. 8 is Cushing Extension, which begins in Steele City, Nebraska and goes to Cushing, Oklahoma, and is approximately 288 miles long. The 36-inch diameter Cushing Extension was Phase 2 of the Keystone pipeline and its construction was completed in 2011.

See the latest updates at EPA

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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