Man punctures Alaska oil pipeline by shooting it

A man is currently being held by the authorities in Alaska following an incident on 4 October when, in a drunken state, he fired a gun at the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, puncturing it and spilling over 285,000 gallons of crude oil. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is determined that the man should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Although the pipeline, operated by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, has now been repaired and is fully operational, the cleanup operation will have to continue until at least next summer, Brad Hahn, Programme Manager for the Prevention and Emergency Response Programme at the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, told edie.

“We’re in the process of recovering the last of the free oil,” said Hahn. It is now getting cold at the disaster site, which means that the oil is beginning to solidify, he said, explaining that as the ground is so wet, the clean-up team will have to wait until it freezes before they can bring in the heavy equipment required to remove the contaminated soil. Excavation is expected to begin in the next couple of weeks, and the bulk of the contaminated soil will be removed over the winter. Re-vegetation work and monitoring for off-site migration of contamination will take place in the summer. If the monitoring reveals that further work is required, this will be carried out the following winter.

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