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Pipeline leaks thousands of gallons of crude oil into a Payne County creek

Road closure at N3520 Rd and E Fairlawn Road near the reported site of the spill.
Graycen Wheeler
Road closure at N3520 Rd and E Fairlawn Road near the reported site of the spill.

An underground pipeline has leaked at least 42,000 gallons of crude oil into a creek in Payne County last week since it ruptured on July 8th.

The Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the clean-up of Skull Creek northeast of Cushing. The creek feeds into the Cimarron River, whose aquifer provides water for agriculture and irrigation.

Oil leaked into the creek from the Osage Pipeline that carries oil from Cushing to El Dorado, Kansas. The pipeline is one of dozens that run through Cushing, which bills itself “the pipeline crossroads of the world.”

Holly Energy Partners, which owns the Osage Pipeline, confirmed that it lost pressure on July 8th. The pipeline has been up and running since July 18th, but it’s still experiencing lower pressure than normal.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said they’re analyzing the section of pipe that failed. The administration hasn’t released any information about what caused the leak, but its investigation is ongoing.

Cleanup crews had closed roads near the reported site of the leak last month while environmental management tanker trucks rolled in. Holly Energy Partners is working with government agencies and landowners on recovery procedures, according to a spokesperson with their parent company, HF Sinclair.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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