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Keystone Pipeline leak spills oil in northeastern North Dakota

“At this time there is no indication that it has impacted anybody’s drinking water,” Karl Rockeman, director of the division of water quality for North Dakota's health department, said. “It appears to be contained within the area.”

Break area | Oil Spill
TC Energy reported an oil spill in the rural Edinburg area, about 30 miles northwest of Grafton, N.D. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Submitted photo
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EDINBURG, N.D. — North Dakota officials and crews from TC Energy were on the site of an oil spill in Walsh County in northeastern North Dakota resulting from a leak from the Keystone Pipeline Wednesday, Oct. 30.

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality confirmed a leak from the pipeline has resulted in an oil spill in a rural area 3 miles northwest of Edinburg. According to the Walsh County Sheriff's Office, the first report came from TC Energy at 5:42 a.m.

The Department of Environmental Quality estimated the spill was about 1,500 feet in length by 15 feet wide as of Wednesday afternoon. Steps are being taken to contain the release, but the volume of oil that has spilled is currently unknown, officials said.

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Walsh County Emergency Manager Brent Nelson said the spill is contained to a wetland and has affected an area where a local farmer cuts hay.

While officials said the spill is contained and had not contaminated drinking water, TC Energy had yet to fix the leak as of Wednesday afternoon. The company said it had shut down the pipeline to address the issue.

Karl Rockeman, director of the division of water quality for North Dakota's health department, also confirmed that the pipeline had been shut down at the point of release.

“At this time there is no indication that it has impacted anybody’s drinking water,” he said. “It appears to be contained within the area.”

Oil spill.jpg
TransCanada reported an oil spill in the rural Edinburg area, about 30 miles northwest of Grafton, N.D. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. (submitted photo)

Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, is working to determine the cause of the release and how much oil has spilled. The company confirmed that officials from its emergency management, engineering and environmental management divisions are responding to the scene of the incident.

Edinburg is about 75 miles northwest of Grand Forks.

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TC Energy said it first became aware of the release after an operations control center detected a drop in pressure at around 10:20 p.m. on Oct. 29. The company then notified state and federal regulators, including the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the National Response Center.

The company said its crews will do the assessments and remove the visible oil and the affected soil if needed to reach the problem in the pipeline. North Dakota environmental quality representatives are also on-site and will continue to monitor the investigation and remediation.

"(Cleanup) crews are just arriving late this afternoon with equipment to ... clean, access the pipe and begin repair work," Nelson said. "I do not have an ETA at this time, but was told it will take a few months for the entire process to be completed."

The roads around the spill area have been closed to assist with the cleanup. Walsh County Sheriff Ronald Jurgens asks the public to avoid the area so the cleanup process can proceed.

On-site security will stop and fine any driver ignoring the closed road signs.

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