The company that operates the Keystone Pipeline will be billed for cleaning up a 588,000 gallon oil spill in Kansas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a consent order.
TC Energy will have to pay for oil removal as well as oversight and monitoring throughout the process.
A leak was detected around 9 p.m. on Dec. 7. Around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 8, a TC Energy employee alerted the National Response Center of a crude oil odor, but a leak had not been confirmed. The pipeline transports crude oil.
By Dec. 9, 14,000 barrels had been estimated to have spilled in and near Mill Creek in Washington County, Kansas.
The spill caused “vegetation staining and a film or sheen upon or discoloration of the surface of the water of Mill Creek and adjoining banks,” the EPA said. As of Dec. 20, about 100 animals had died.
Authorities believe the impact of the spill extends at least 3.5 miles downstream.
The spill caused “an imminent and substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States,” the EPA said, including potential harm to wildlife, habitat, shorelines and public and private property.
TC Energy is responsible for recovering the oil and oil-contaminated soil and vegetation and installing temporary runoff control measures. The company also has to conduct air monitoring during the clean up and collect samples for testing upon the request of the EPA.
As of Jan. 2, about 18,160 barrels of oil and affected water had been recovered, the company said.
The EPA will bill the company for any costs incurred by the U.S. government. If the company violates the consent order, they could face civil penalties up to $51,796 per day, the order said.
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