OLPE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials on Monday were at the site of natural gas pipeline eruption in eastern Kansas, where crops and trees have withered since a dark, oily plume burst from the line while crews were trying to perform maintenance.
Shrubs, crops, trees and houses near Olpe were covered in a mist of the substance, which the Kansas Department of Health and Environment told The Associated Press was natural gas condensate, a mix of natural gas and hydrocarbons. Since then, leaves on trees have begun to wither and soybeans have died. An unpleasant smell lingered Monday.
The accident happened Thursday along a Panhandle Eastern pipeline. Residents reported seeing the plume burst from the line and spread across nearby fields and yards, The Emporia Gazette reported. Olpe is a town of about 550 residents south of Emporia.
"I saw that smoke and thought 'what the hell is going on at the Panhandle?' It was all black coming out of there at 400-600 PSI," landowner Don Brown told the newspaper. "It was going everywhere."
Natural gas condensate can come in various compositions, but typically contains benzene, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified as a carcinogen.
"My mother-in-law's house is now a kind of gray color, and it was white before," said area resident Juanita Brown. "The trees and the grass are dying. There's guck all over my mother-in-law's house."