What Happens When Oil Sands Pipelines Spill?

The solution flowing through the Keystone pipeline isn’t just crude oil. Scientists are now learning what that means for spills.

In June next year, a remote lake in Canada will suffer eight simultaneous oil spills. But it will be for a good cause. Scientists are trying to learn how dilbit, or diluted bitumen — the complex mixture of bitumen, gasoline and other chemicals that flows through pipelines and is hauled on railway cars away from Canada’s oil sands — behaves when it is released into the environment.

Researchers at the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario will study the fate and behavior of dilbit in freshwater and how best to clean it up when a spill does happen. Read more in Inside Science.