Keystone pipeline owner says recovery of spilled oil into Kansas creek is complete

By: - May 14, 2023 5:15 pm
oil spill

Workers at the site of the Dec. 7 oil spill from the Keystone pipeline near Washington, Kansas. TC Energy estimated it would cost $480 million to clean up the oil. (Courtesy of EPA)

LINCOLN — A Canadian pipeline company says it has completed the recovery of oil spilled into a Kansas creek following a record leak on the Keystone Pipeline.

TC Energy, in a press release Thursday, said it continues to restore the shoreline of Mill Creek as well as adjacent areas affected when the high-pressure, 36-inch pipeline sprang a leak in December, releasing more than 500,000 gallons of crude oil.

It was the largest oil pipeline spill in the U.S. in nine years and the largest leak on the 12-year-old Keystone pipeline.

The pipeline leak was just across the Nebraska border near Washington, Kansas.

The company said it expects to continue its work at the spill site until the third quarter of the year.

TC Energy said it employed “sophisticated recovery and water filtration techniques” to collect the oil.

The work was done under the oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The company has said that a flaw in a weld combined with “inadvertent bending stresses” on an elbow fitting during installation in 2011, combined with the high pressures employed to transport the oil, eventually led to the pipeline failure.

Environmental groups have said the Keystone should be shut down because of its design flaws and that it’s only a matter of time before there’s another leak.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.