Kansas farmers impacted by Keystone Pipeline oil spill
KANSAS (KAKE) - Efforts to clean up the biggest oil spill in Keystone history continues. It happened Wednesday night in Washington county, Kansas.
Crews with Canada-based TC Energy have been hard at work to clean up the 14,000 barrels of oil.
Some are concerned not only about the impact this could have on wildlife in that area, but also on Kansas waterways.
The Pannbacker family has owned their farm property for a century. They say that conditions and amount of this oil spill is something they've never seen before.
“Well, the ground is black. It's probably about the size of a football field,” said Chris Pannbacker.
"There's still a very noticeable smell from the spill but as far as getting to our property, no it doesn't affect that cause it's on the other side of the hill,” she added.
Washington County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Randy Hubbard says he's been working nonstop around the clock with TC Energy to work on cleanup.
“I was notified at 1:30 in the morning by the company and headed out to the scene, they already had a couple 2-3 people on site to investigate the incident. And by 7 am they had people rolling in from literally all over the United States,” Hubbard said.
TC Energy says it has a workforce of 250 people cleaning up, including third-party environmental specialists.
They tell us they've contained the oil but the clean-up of 14,000 barrels continues.
“The oil spill got down into a local creek or waterway. So that's been their priority trying to get that dealt with. Making sure oil is not spreading further downstream, which they've got multiple barriers in place,” said Hubbard. “They got these big trucks basically parked alongside of the mill creek that goes down into the creek. For the lack of a better term, it's like a big vacuum, they're sucking the oil up out of the water.”
As far as how long TC Energy will remain on the scene in Washington county, officials were unsure.
"Right now our focus is on the response. I can't give you an exact timeline. Our commitment obviously is to see this through,” said Reid Fiest, a TC Energy spokesperson.
TC Energy tells KAKE News that crews are beginning preparations for the rain starting Monday. It could create some challenges in cleaning up the oil. They are also working closely with landowners, the community, and local, state, and federal regulators.
In addition to all of this, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a stream advisory warning. That means people should not enter mill creek. That's where this spill happened, and keep livestock, pets, and children out of it as well.