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Distracted TransCanada Trucker Spills Oily Soil from Keystone Leak

The latest spill from TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline comes from distracted driving. An Arizona truck driver hauling contaminated dirt from the Keystone spill was just a couple miles from the Amherst accident site when he became an accident himself:

William Connors, 37, of Show Low, Ariz., was driving a 2002 Peterbilt semi north on Marshall County Road 11, also known as 415th Avenue, said Tony Mangan, spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

…According to the South Dakota Highway Patrol report, the driver was distracted by an electronic device, drifted onto the wrong side of the road, overcorrected and tipped, Mangan said. Connors was wearing his seat belt and was not injured, according to the report.

…When the semi tipped, a half ton to a ton of contaminated soil spilled, Mangan said.

About 10 gallons of diesel fuel from the vehicle also spilled, said Brian Walsh, environmental scientist manager for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources [Katharine Grandstrand, “Semi Tips, Spills Contaminated Soil from Oil Leak Site in Marshall County,” Aberdeen American News, 2018.01.05].

TransCanada hires construction crews who drop concrete on the pipeline, then hires clean-up drivers who check their phones while driving hazardous waste on country roads.

Jeepers, couldn’t we at least get a cool truck spill, like the potato mash-up Wednesday down on I-80 in Nebraska?

Related Reading: Maybe our trucker was checking the Trump Twitter feed. The “very stable genius” in the White House wants to ease safety regulations for offshore oil and gas drilling adopted after the BP Horizon disaster and let oil companies drill over 90% of the U.S. outer continental shelf.


  1. W R Old Guy 2018-01-06 12:47

    I was in public safety for over 40 years. Our “dream accident” was a non injury crash between a beer truck and snack food truck. The closest I came to that was a semi falling on its side with 44,000 lbs. of Cool Whip! (no injuries)

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-06 13:02

    Maybe TransCanada’s driver (from a company called SET) was thinking about snacks and texting an order for pizza.

  3. Robert McTaggart 2018-01-06 14:12

    Where are the driverless Tesla trucks that will haul away that material?

  4. mike from iowa 2018-01-06 15:57

    That Pete will be driverless for awhile. Hard to believe the spill was such a minute amount, 10-4, good buddy.

  5. grudznick 2018-01-06 17:23

    Where do they put the contaminated dirt? Dig a deep hole in some other state, perhaps, and pound it all deep underground?

    What happened to all those potatoes? They didn’t let them all go to waste, did they? There seem to be many there that would be perfectly serviceable if peeled and boiled.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-06 18:27

    Interesting forum, Diana! This video maker says the driver himself says it was his electronic log. Do we have independent confirmation of that excuse?

    Note that first commenter in that forum after the video says, “Oops. Driver should’ve used better judgement and either pulled over or waited until his next stop to mess with it. Lucky it didn’t kill him.”

  7. Diana 2018-01-06 18:42

    That’s the only source I’ve seen. The electronic logbook should have recorded that the driver was messing with it while the vehicle was in motion, hopefully the police will check it.

  8. mike from iowa 2018-01-06 18:59

    Here is part of an article about the Menno spill and where the contaminated tar sands gunk was being trucked. See if you can spot a problem with the landfill and the stuff being hauled from Menno.

    e were told (TransCanada) will start hauling contaminated soil … to Waste Management in Glencoe, Minnesota,” Smith said. “They plan to ramp up to about 20 trucks per day hauling contaminated soil to the Minnesota site.”

    According to its website, Waste Management operates Spruce Ridge Landfill at Glencoe. The landfill handles both commercial and residential waste. The business says the landfill doesn’t accept hazardous waste.

    TransCanada officials confirmed plans for the movement of contaminated soil. However, the company didn’t immediately release details on the amount of soil and plans for transporting it.

  9. Diana 2018-01-06 19:50

    Still being discussed at the forum, sounds like “Easy Rider” has some local sources.

  10. grudznick 2018-01-06 19:52

    So the “contaminated” dirt is being buried in a borehole in Minnesota. But confirmed it is not hazardous. This is essentially just hauling a lot of valuable South Dakota dirt over to Minnesota to backfill a slew they want to build a mall on.

  11. mike from iowa 2018-01-06 20:04

    The dirt from Marshall, Co is going to N Dakota, Grudz. The dirt going to Minnesota was from the previous spill near Menno- the tarsands crud with all them hazardous chemicals. How does a landfill that does not accept hazardous materials take on hazardous materials?

    Remember, Trash-Can says they were pumping crude oil through Marshall, Co, not dil-bit (tarsands). Remember, too, tarsands is not considered crude oil and therefore, can’t be taxed at 9 cents per barrel for hazardous cleanup fund even though it is much more hazardous than regular light crude.

  12. Diana 2018-01-06 20:06

    That may explain why the truck has ND plates and “Easy Rider” from Bismarck knows so much.

  13. Donald Pay 2018-01-07 09:35

    Grudz, If you have lobbyists and attorneys to get Congress and government agencies to define material which is hazardous as nonhazardous, then you can cart this hazardous material to a community dump. Simple as corruption can get!!!

  14. Donald Pay 2018-01-07 09:42

    Slip some money to some political outfits and you get hazardous sewage ash defined as suitable to take a ride on Burlington Northern from Minnesota to South Dakota to be turned into gold. Same scam and corruption run over and over.

  15. mike from iowa 2018-01-07 10:38

    According to the person studying the Keystone pipeline route, 95% of the soil was not likely to facillitate spilled oil movement, but the sandy soils in Marshall County could prove to be a problem. So where does the pipeline break?

    One small remark about DAPL. A security firm hired by DAPL was not licensed in North Dakota and had recently been turned down and yet they were allowed to provide oversight( flyovers) and armed their force with military style weapons and tried to infiltrate the Water Protectors.

  16. mike from iowa 2018-01-07 10:42

    Diana- that was an interesting link you provided. I learned more about how much stress a semi’s chassis can handle than I ever dared thought possible. That poor Perterbilt’s life hangs in the balance. Some say it is salvageable and others say not. Thanks for that info.

  17. Diana 2018-01-07 13:16

    Yup, I’m on their as “Maxidyne”. I’m a retired truck driver and love the old Macks enough to put up with the Trump lovers on the forum. Been kicked off a few times for injecting my democratic viewpoint, but I just make up a new handle and sneak back in!

  18. mike from iowa 2018-01-07 13:20

    Welcome aboard. If you can get Cory unhappy enough to give you the ban hammer, you would be a legend around here. This is in no way to be considered a challenge to you. Just that Master is very tolerant. Please don’t use profanity as this is a family blog.

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-07 14:34

    Thanks, Diana. Your link to that forum video and discussion were very useful!

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