WASHINGTON COUNTY (KSNT) – The largest oil spill in the history of the Keystone pipeline has now been contained, according to local officials.
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil spilled into a creek in Washington County last week. A member of Washington County Emergency Management spoke with our 27 News Capitol Bureau on Monday about the extent of the damage following a survey.
“There’s close to 250 people actually on site for the cleanup,” said Randy Hubbard, Washington County Emergency Management.
About 588,000 gallons of oil spilled into Mill Creek from the Keystone pipeline, the largest in the pipeline’s history. Now, emergency officials say the spill is contained.
“Containment from the spill is complete,” Hubbard said. “They’re now moving on to the recovery of the oil and obviously evaluating the environment.”
The spill dumped oil not only into the nearby creek, but also into pastureland about five miles northeast of Washington, the county seat and home of 1,100 residents. Though extensive, the spill did not impact the water supply and no evacuations were ordered.
“You know, this was a large spill by industry standards… and so, they’re doing it right,” Hubbard said. “They’re very concerned about safety and so, they’ll be here as long as they need to.”
Officials are still working on recovery efforts and looking into whether any wildlife may have been impacted. The Friends of the Kaw, a conservation group that works to improve and safeguard the Kansas River, reported on Dec. 9 it feared a heavy toll on local wildlife that depend on Mill Creek.
We suspect many fish and wildlife have been lost as this creek is host to numerous concentrations of birds, fish, eagles, and other wildlife. This is of particular concern during the fall migration season. Fish and wildlife are important to Kansans for the quality of life that they bring to our state and the roles they play in our native ecosystems.Friends of the Kaw statement
Members of the conservation group visited the creek again on Sunday, Dec. 11 and reported there was no evidence of disturbance downstream about four miles from the spill. The group said the spill appeared to be contained and will continue working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency.
There are currently no estimates on how long it will take to completely clean up the area impacted by the spill.