Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Potential Leak' On Keystone Oil Pipeline

TransCanada crews are investigating what they call "a small potential leak along the Keystone pipeline right-of-way" near Freeman. Representatives from TransCanada say they’re testing oil discovered a field to learn whether it’s the same kind the Keystone Pipeline carries. An official says about 100 contractors from Canada and the United States have contained the oil and are working near Freeman, South Dakota.

TransCanada uses the Keystone Pipeline to transport all blends of oil. Shawn Howard says the company needs to send oil found in land in southeastern South Dakota to a lab to determine whether it’s the same as the crude in the pipeline.

"We’ve been drilling some test holes to see where there’s soil down below and exactly – it’s called delineating it – exactly where this product may have gone or come from," Howard says. 

TransCanada officials say the area where oil was spotted is 10 feet by 30 feet. Howard says the investigation involves two landowners; one of those property owners noticed a problem over the weekend.

Howard says it takes about 10 minutes for TransCanada officials to stop oil moving through Keystone once a worker verifies an issue.

"We also send our crews to valve stations that are located upstream and downstream, so we shut it down from our oil control center but we also send crews out to physically make sure that all the vales have been closed properly, so it happens fairly quickly," Howard says. 

Howard says he doesn’t have a timeline for testing to determine the source of the oil…or how long it might take to excavate the land and remove contaminated soil. He says after that TransCanada can fix any potential damage to the Keystone pipeline and restore the property.

A TransCanada release says officials have found no "significant impact to the environment" and no threat ot public safety.  has been observed and there is no threat to public safety or security.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).