ANCHORAGE, Alaska — After days of waiting, oil started flowing through the trans-Alaska pipeline again just after 9 p.m. Tuesday.
The Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. temporarily restarted the flow to prevent further damage that could come from the cold. There are also two cleaning devices, called pigs, in the pipeline which could cause damage if they remain there.
Officials say a 24-inch bypass pipe is being fabricated and welded together so the pipeline can be restarted at a higher capacity.
“What we have to do is draw down the tanks and again move some oil in the pipe,” said Alyeska spokesperson Michelle Egan. “And at the same time we'll be putting the bypass pipeline, which is the longer-term solution we'll be staging -- that so when that's staged and ready to go we can take a plan shutdown, install that bypass and then start ramping back up to our full capacity.”
Crude oil leaked into the basement of Pump Station 1 Saturday, near the start of the main line. Current estimates put the leak at 29 barrels, or 1,200 gallons.
Crews at Pump Station 1 are also installing an 800-gallon containment vault for the oil recovered from the leak site.
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