On April 1, 2021, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) reported a spill to the National Response Center (NRC) of an estimated 100 barrels (4,200 gallons) of crude oil to Rosebud Creek near Rago, Kingman County, Kansas. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) deployed to the Site and observed a significant amount of oil in two ponds and along approximately 0.75 miles of Rosebud Creek. Additionally, due to a heavy rain event that occurred around the time of the spill discovery, significant amounts of oil were observed up the sides of Rosebud Creek. The owner-operator of an adjacent oil lease had installed some mitigation measures and attempted to conduct cleanup; however, they did not claim responsibility for the spill and stated they did not have the ability to continue conducting cleanup.
On April 2, 2021, Region 7 determined that a fund-lead removal action was appropriate to conduct the cleanup. On April 2, 2021, Region 7 mobilized contractor resources to perform cleanup operations.
On April 3, 2021, Region 7 began recovery of oil and cleanup of oil-impacted media. Oil was recovered primarily with vacuum trucks and drum skimmers. The banks of Pond 1, Pond 2, and Rosebud Creek were flushed with fresh water to remove residual oil. Recovered oil and wastewater was staged in on-site frac tanks for disposal. Waste oil was hauled to a recycling facility for processing. Wastewater was disposed of in nearby underground injection wells. Oil-impacted vegetation and other miscellaneous debris was removed by hand along Rosebud Creek. Additionally, extensive excavation of oil-impacted soil was conducted at Pond 2. Oil-impacted solid waste was disposed of at a nearby Subtitle-D landfill.
On April 22, 2021, oil was observed bubbling to the surface in an area of Pond 2 that had previously been excavated and subsequently filled with water. Water was drained from the area and further excavation was conducted. During excavation, oil and heavily stained soil was identified along a 3” flowline associated with the adjacent oil lease. The line ran from an inactive well to the gas separator at the nearby tank battery. KCC pressure tested the line by flushing with water and two leaks were identified. Region 7 temporarily patched the pipeline.
On April 23, 2021, KCC flushed the repaired 3" flowline with fresh water to purge any remaining oil or saltwater. The line was then disconnected from the gas separator, and both ends were plugged to prevent future spills. While disconnecting the line, KCC noted a mixture of gas, water, and oil draining into the inactive line at the gas separator. Two valves that should have prevented backflow into the inactive line from an active gathering line were determined to be no longer functional and the contributing source to the discharge to Rosebud Creek.
Region 7-led cleanup activities were completed on May 1, 2021. An estimated 20,328 gallons of crude oil, 252,420 gallons of wastewater, and 1,100 tons of oil-impacted soil and debris were removed from the Site.
Due to the volume of the spill and the expansiveness of the impacted area, it was technically impracticable to recover all of the spilled oil. Prior to demobilizing, five straw bale dam/absorbent boom collection points were installed to prevent downstream migration of residual oil from the Site. On May 4, 2021, KCC assumed the lead on monitoring the Site and recovering residual oil from the five collection points.