The Keystone Pipeline has leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil into the ground in northeastern South Dakota, an emergency situation that prompted TransCanada crews to shut the pipeline down while they search for the reason behind the leak.
Representatives from TransCanada, the massive energy company headquartered in Calgary that is responsible for the Keystone Pipeline, as well as state regulators announced the leak on Thursday. Workers first realized there was a problem when they detected a drop in pressure in the 2,687-mile system near a pump station in Marshall County, TransCanada said in a statement.
State officials do not currently believe that the massive leak contaminated any drinking water supplies or affected any surface water bodies, said South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources environmental scientist manager Brian Walsh.
“Ultimately, the cleanup responsibility lies with TransCanada, and they’ll have to clean it up in compliance with our state regulations,” he said.
In a statement published on its website, TransCanada claimed that the section of pipe from which the leak sprang “was completely isolated within 15 minutes and emergency response procedures were activated.”
“Crews including TransCanada specialists from emergency management, engineering, environmental management and safety as well as contracted, nationally recognized experts are assessing the situation,” the company wrote.
“The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”
The Keystone Pipeline transports about 23 million gallons, or 600,000 barrels, of crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries throughout the Midwest every day. TransCanada estimates that the volume of the leak was about 5,000 barrels, or less than one percent of its daily transported crude.
The site of Thursday’s leak sits about 150 miles away from where the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would cross just west of where the borders of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota intersect. That proposal ignited controversy amid environmental groups and Native American tribes and sparked lengthy and highly public protests.