August 29, 2013

EPA developing oil spill response plan

EPA developing oil spill response plan

By JILL DENNING GACKLE
BHG News Service

Steve Way won’t use the word catastrophic or disaster when he talks about a potentially large oil spill on Lake Sakakawea. But he admitted that a large scale release is a matter of “when, not if.”
Way is the federal on-scene EPA coordinator given the responsibility of developing a plan in the event that there is a spill of greater than 10,000 gallons that would impact Lake Sakakawea or the Missouri River.
He said he knew 10,000 gallons isn’t a large amount in this part of the country. A tanker truck carries 5,000 to 11,000 gallons. A spill of 374,000 gallons of fresh water in June near Mandaree headed down the bank into Lake Sakakawea. Another spill in December spewed 66,000 gallons of oil and brine on a frozen stubble field and ice-covered lake near Van Hook.
“Ten thousand gallons can happen pretty swiftly,” he said. “You need to be prepared and be able to respond to a large spill.”
Way said several factors could lead to a large spill: pipelines lying on the lake bed, which transport oil and gas from one side to the other, storage facilities and the potential for a well blowout. There are 13 lines 6-12 inches in diameter that convey crude oil, CO2, natural gas or gasoline across the lake, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“It’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of when. It’s reasonable to assume that something that requires a large scale clean up effort will happen,” he said. “That’s a reality and that’s certainly why we are investing an effort to try to be as prepared as best we can.”
 


The Weather Network