EPA and TC Oil Pipeline Operations Inc. Agree to Clean Up Oil Discharge from Pipeline Rupture

TC Oil Pipeline Operations Inc. has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up the oil discharge that occurred Dec. 7 in Washington County, Kansas, as a result of a rupture in a section of the Keystone Pipeline. TC Energy is the parent company to TC Oil Pipeline Operations Inc.

“EPA is grateful to the hundreds of EPA and other federal, state, and local agency personnel who quickly responded to this emergency,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “The federal government and the state of Kansas are committed to a thorough cleanup and restoration of the impacted area.”

On Dec. 7, 2022, an estimated 14,000 barrels of oil (588,000 gallons) leaked from the ruptured pipeline over land and into Mill Creek, which subsequently violated the federal Clean Water Act, creating an imminent and substantial threat to human health and the environment.

In the cleanup order, finalized January 6, EPA asserts that the oil-impacted surface water in Mill Creek at least 3½ miles downstream resulted in vegetation staining near the pipeline rupture, caused a visible sheen on the water, and significantly affected fish and wildlife.

The order requires TC Oil Pipeline Operations Inc. to recover oil and oil-contaminated soil and vegetation and contain the further spread of oil in Mill Creek. All work required under the order to abate the endangerment identified in the order will be completed under EPA oversight.

TC Oil Pipeline Operations Inc. operates sections of the Keystone Pipeline System. The Keystone Pipeline is a 2,687-mile liquid oil pipeline system between Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, and Port Arthur, Texas. The breach occurred in a section of the pipeline that stretches from Steele City, Nebraska, to Cushing, Oklahoma, which was completed in 2011.

Discharges of pollutants, including oil, into federally protected waterways are violations of the Clean Water Act.


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