Earthworks

Pump Stations

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Pump station in Nebraska intended to be connected to KXL pipeline. Photo: NPR

Pump stations are large industrial facilities that maintain the flow and pressure of oil by receiving oil from the pipeline, re-pressurizing it, and sending it back into the pipeline system. (Compressor stations do the same thing for natural gas.)

Pump stations are generally constructed every 20-100 miles along a pipeline route, depending on the terrain, the capacity of both the pipeline and the station, and the type of product moving through. For example, the Keystone XL pipeline that would move heavy tar sands oil from Canada to the US would include 41 pump stations at 50-mile intervals.

Different kinds of pumps run on diesel, natural gas, or electricity.

Pump stations release health and climate harming air pollutants such as:

An additional environmental risk is the potential for oil spills when equipment fails or lines break.

Regulation

Just like oil and liquids pipelines, pump stations are permitted through state regulatory agencies and federal agencies relevant to specific projects. They are also included in some of the safety regulations issued by the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).


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Tagged with: pump stations, oil, infrastructure

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