Cleanup ongoing after Panhandle Eastern pipeline incident

Panhandle Eastern says it's close to the point where cleanup efforts can be checked by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment after a pipeline incident near Olpe two weeks ago.

Spokesperson Vicki Granado says the initial cleanup is nearing completion and could be ready for additional testing soon, although she did not give a timeline for that step.

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The company's damage assessment and environmental impact statement is pending. KDHE has not said when it plans to conduct tests in the area.

Granado says Panhandle Eastern continues working with the landowners impacted by the blowout of natural gas condensate near Roads 90 and "K."

Roughly 1,300 gallons of condensate containing diesel fuel, natural gas pipeline liquids, synthetic gear lubricating oil and trace amounts of carcinogens like benzene and hydrogen sulfide were sent into the atmosphere June 19 and spread over a quarter-mile-wide, three-mile-long plume north past the Emporia Municipal Airport. Five stock ponds were decontaminated afterward. An untold number of trees and soybean plants have died, but Lyon County Extension ag agent Brian Rees expects other plants will survive after being defoliated.

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