The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 01:00

Pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, USA

Image of Amhest incident taken by aerial patrol; the oil spill area is highlighted. Image of Amhest incident taken by aerial patrol; the oil spill area is highlighted.. Credits: TransCanada via Twitter

A total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, USA, on Thursday November 16, according to TransCanada, the pipeline's operator.

TransCanada said that crews shut down the leaking pipeline section on Thursday morning, within 15 minutes after a drop in pressure was detected. Officials are investigating the cause of the leak, which blackened an approximate 100m radius, about three miles southeast of the town of Amherst, SD, according to Brian Walsh, a spokesman for South Dakota's Department of Environment and Natural Resources. According to the Department's website, this is the third pipeline spill in the state this year.

A preliminary report filed with the state listed "equipment failure" as the cause. TransCanada said that the spill has been controlled, with no further environmental impacts observed and no threat to public safety.

"It is a below-ground pipeline, but some oil has surfaced above ground to the grass," Brian Walsh said. "It will be a few days until they can excavate and get in borings to see if there is groundwater contamination." There were no initial reports of the oil spill affecting waterways, water systems or wildlife.

The Keystone Pipeline system stretches more than 2,600 miles, from Hardisty, Alberta, east into Manitoba and then south to Texas, transporting tar sands crude oil from Canada. Tar sands oil is much thicker and stickier than traditional oil, significantly complicating cleanup efforts. The fact it's thicker also means it needs to be combined with other hazardous materials to allow it to be transported in pipelines.

Thursday's spill came days before Nebraska officials announce a decision on whether the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, a sister project, can move forward. The proposed project, which would stretch from Hardisty to Steele City, Nebraska, would complete the pipeline system by cutting through Montana and South Dakota.

Sources: CNN, The New York Times

Read 449 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 November 2017 16:32

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