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TransCanada Keystone Leak #4: Hartington Pump Station Spews

Check that: it's apparently not the pipeline we have to worry about; it's those darn leaky pump stations.

Carrie La Seur of Plains Justice gets the scoop on the fourth documented leak along TransCanada's Keystone I tar sands pipeline. According to incident report #951480 filed by the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center, Keystone Pump Station 24 near Hartington, Nebraska, sprang a leak. The report says, "caller stated a check valve on a pressure transmitter located on the suction side of a line pump stuck open releasing 5-10 gallons of crude oil onto the ground.

The leaks must be working their way south. Check out TransCanada's Keystone system map:

Map of Keystone I Pump Station leaks, May-Aug 2010Map of Documented Keystone I Pipeline Pump Station Leaks
May&ndashAugust 2010 (click image to enlarge)

The previous three Keystone leaks happened at the Carpenter Pump Station in Beadle County in May, then the Roswell Pump Station in Miner County in June, then the Freeman Pump Station on August 10. Was the pipeline passing a stone or something?

Once again, let us review TransCanada's June 2006 pipeline risk assessment:

...the estimated occurrence intervals for a spill of 50 barrels or less occurring anywhere along the entire pipeline system is once every 65 years, a spill between 50 and 1,000 barrels might occur once in 12 years; a spill of 1,000 and 10,000 barrels might occur once in 39 years; and a spill containing more than 10,000 barrels might occur once in 50 years. Applying these statistics to a 1-mile section, the chances of a larger spill (greater than 10,000 barrels) would be less than once every 67,000 years [ENSR Corporation for TransCanada, "Pipeline Risk Assessment and Environmental Consequence Analysis," Document No. 10623-004, June 2006].

Given four incidents in three months, we are now in the clear on small leaks for 260 years. Thanks for getting those out of the way, TransCanada!


  1. Stan Gibilisco 2010.12.08

    Stuff happens in bunches. Chaos theory.

  2. caheidelberger 2010.12.08

    ...but linear bunches? Doesn't look very chaotic to me....

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