Questions still unanswered about oil spill
The chief of the State Health Department’s Environmental Section says the department will be doing some further investigation into a crude oil spill north of Tioga.
More than 20-thousand barrels of oil leaked from a Tesoro pipeline into a wheat field. The leak covered an area equivalent to seven football fields. It was originally reported September 29th – and was thought to be a smaller spill of about 750 barrels. But Glatt told a Legislative interim committee – by October 8th, Tesoro said it was over 20-thousand barrels.
Glatt says Tesoro still has to answer some questions about the spill.
"Why did it take this?" Glatt told the interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee. "Are there safeguards that should have been in place but weren't? Are there safeguards they weren't required to do, that they maybe should have had? Those are the things that will come out in the investigation."
Glatt says those results will help guide regulators in dealing with other pipelines. He says if there is any good news about the spill, it's that it happened where it did.
"It's on a slight rise," Glatt told the committee. "There is no groundwater. And there is a very thick clay barrier at about 10 to 14 feet below the surface. It contained the spill in that area."
Glatt says oil is much easier to clean up than salt water. He says the challenge will now be how Tesoro plans to clean up the area – and make sure this can be avoided in the future.