The Environmental Protection Agency says the spill of a contaminated Merck Pegasus pipeline in Nebraska has a “massive” impact on the environment and on water quality in the region.
Key points:The agency says the pipeline ruptured and released about 6,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River on Tuesday, causing a spill that is affecting drinking water in NebraskaWater has been flowing back to Kalamazos drinking water treatment plants for several days, but the pipeline is now being monitored by a third partyWater quality experts have been working on the pipeline, which was built to carry crude oil, since it brokeIn a statement released late Tuesday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency will monitor the pipeline as it is being repaired.
“The Kalamazo River and surrounding watershed are being impacted by the spill and the cleanup, and we are taking steps to provide water and clean water resources to those impacted,” Pruitt said in the statement.
“This is a watershed issue that has been the subject of significant public interest and litigation for decades.”
Merck says it’s working with local officials and regulators to determine what caused the pipeline rupture.
Pruitt said the EPA will be using the Kalamazoo River to conduct tests on the spill site.”EPA has made it a priority to work with local government to determine the cause of this spill and we will work closely with local governments to determine exactly how to restore drinking water to Kalamans drinking water,” he said.
The EPA said it was working with the state’s Department of Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers to clean up the pipeline.
In January, the Kalamarazoo-Pipeline Company agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle charges by the US government for violating environmental regulations and violating the Clean Water Act.