Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

South Dakota/ Keystone Pipeline: What Happens If There's A Spill?

Pipeline: What Happens If There's A Spill?

Tuesday night's public meetings about the TransCanada pipeline are expected to draw a large crowd, and a main concern is the possibility of fuel spills.

With more than 200 miles of pipeline that would run under the South Dakota prairie, a leak or a spill is a possibility, which could contaminate our water, air, and land.

While Keystone officials say TransCanada has never had a leak on a pipeline constructed after 1980, it will be prepared for such an event.

First, company officials would be the first to respond and cut the fuel flow completely until the problem is fixed. It would also have oil spill equipment positioned in strategic locations along the pipeline to deploy when needed.
TransCanada says as soon as the pipeline is approved, it will establish a list of local crews to respond to an emergency, and those responders will be specially trained to deal with oil spills.

If the land or water is contaminated, the company will also call the Environmental Protection Agency to minimize its impact on human health and the environment. It would also be required to contact the National Response Center which has national and regional teams to respond to an incident. They would help coordinate the oil management and cleanup between federal, regional and local efforts.

The company says it's pretty rare for a spill to ignite and start a fire... according to the Office of Pipeline Safety, only 3% turn out that way. But if that were to happen, local crews would be called to either put it out... or let it burn itself out, depending on what's best.

TransCanada says someone would also monitor the pipeline pressure all day, every day, and survey the area at least 26 times a year... never going longer than three weeks without a checkup.

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