- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. and state authorities are responding to a slow leak of crude oil discovered in a buried section of the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline.

The Alaska Dispatch News reported (http://bit.ly/1KM9qF3 ) that a joint near Pump Station 10 between Glennallen and Delta Junction spilled an estimated 10 gallons of oil, according to a Friday incident report from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

The leak was discovered during standard maintenance last Friday. The state says Alyeska will work with regulators to identify the cause.

The pipeline carries the crude oil that is an economic lifeline for Alaska, and moved an average of about 500,000 barrels of crude oil daily last month. The leak doesn’t put the line in danger of shutting down, said Michelle Egan, spokeswoman for Alyeska.

“It’s not an imminent threat,” Egan said. “It’s something we’re taking lots of caution around, but that’s pretty much how we operate.”

The trans-Alaska pipeline operator has recovered five yards of contaminated gravel from the area, and the company is monitoring the site around the clock, Egan said. It has installed containment protection to capture additional leaking, and has a vacuum truck on site as a precaution to remove oil if needed.

Alyeska is investigating the cause and developing cleanup plans that will be approved by DEC regulators, the state said.

Two previously scheduled maintenance shutdowns for the summer, including one in mid-June, offer a window for repairs, Egan said.

“We have to plan the best long-term fix and our technical team is doing that now,” she said.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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