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On the morning of December 8, 2022, TC Energy reported a pressure drop in a 36-inch crude oil pipeline, part of the Keystone pipeline system near Washington, Kansas. The pressure drop was documented at approximately 9:30pm on December 7, 2022. The pressure drop was confirmed to be from a line rupture south of a Mill Creek crossing near 39.841667 degrees north latitude and 96.995578 degrees west longitude. At the time of rupture, the pipeline was under pressure (700-900 PSI), resulting in wide-spread vegetation staining. In addition, oil discharged overland and into Mill Creek, a nearby perennial stream. TC Energy estimates the total oil volume discharged as 588,000 gallons (14,000 barrels).
Two EPA On-Scene Coordinators mobilized to the response the morning of December 8, 2022, integrating into Unified Command and the Incident Management Team. A Command Post was established at Steele City, Nebraska, but is being moved on December 10 to be nearer the incident location. TC Energy mobilized numerous resources to the scene on December 9 to assist with oil recovery efforts. This included vacuum trucks, frac tanks, light stands for night operations, heavy equipment, and additional personnel. Oil within Mill Creek is currently contained upstream of an underflow dam constructed approximately four miles from the pipeline rupture. Recovery teams are working upstream of the dam to collect and remove oil from the creek. In addition, response crews are preparing to forecasted rain on December 12 and 13. Additional boom is being deployed and the underflow dam is being shored up to withstand precipitation.
EPA OSCs remain at the response to oversee responsible party assessment and cleanup efforts. EPA contractors have also been activated to provide additional support. EPA OSCs are continuing to coordinate with federal, state, and local response personnel.