An emergency response crew was dispatched by TC Energy on October 29 after the Canada-based energy company detected a drop in pipeline pressure around 9:20 p.m. local time and shut down its portion of the Keystone pipeline system in Edinburg, North Dakota, (not to be confused with the proposed Keystone XL system).
Current incident estimates published by the company say that 9,120 US barrels (383,040 gallons) or “approximately half the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool” of crude oil were released into an impacted area of 2,500 square yards - which is “less than half the size of a football field.”
The impacted wetlands are located less than 50 miles from the Canadian border and are not a source of residents’ drinking water, according to Karl Rockeman of the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality’s water division.
We are responding to a crude oil release on the Keystone Pipeline System near our facilities near Edinburg, North Dakota. Please visit https://t.co/K2NppMFl0K for the latest updates. pic.twitter.com/l0M3i2oNzz— TC Energy (@TCEnergy) October 31, 2019
However, the state official did tell the New York Times on Thursday that the October 29 leak “is one of the larger spills in the state.”
According to TC Energy, the response crew’s containment efforts prevented the spill from spreading, and cleanup workers with “vac trucks” have begun recovering oil. “Backhoes and other specialized equipment” are also being utilized to assist in collecting crude oil below the surface.
While the most recent spill is not associated with the Keystone XL pipeline yet, the Sierra Club noted in a Wednesday statement that its section - “Keystone 1” - and its repeated spills are a clear reason why the pipeline’s expansion via the Keystone XL project should not take place.
“This is not the first spill from Keystone 1; the pipeline had a dozen spills in its first year of operation alone,” the environmental organization noted.
One major leak involved the spilling thousands of gallons of oil onto South Dakota farmland on November 17, 2017. While TC Energy, then known as TransCanada, initially claimed some 210,000 gallons of oil spilled from the pipeline, a company spokesperson later revealed 407,400 gallons of crude were released.
“Our crews will remain focused on oil recovery and then prepare to make repairs to the pipeline. We will provide updates as they become available,” the company claimed in its October 31 update at 12 p.m. local time.