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Yellowstone Pipeline to resume pumping fuel

ConocoPhillips plans to reopen a six-mile stretch of the Yellowstone Pipeline along the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River later today, after a series of tests confirmed the line’s integrity, a company spokesman said.

The 10-inch line transports unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel between Thompson Falls, Mont., and Spokane. Authorities still aren’t sure what caused a gradual drop in pressure in the line on Oct. 1, said Jeff Callender, a ConocoPhillips spokesman. But tests conducted since last Thursday don’t indicate leaks or other problems with the line, he said.

In addition to an acoustic test to listen for problems within the line, ConocoPhillips filled the pipeline with water and conducted pressure tests. One of the tests, required by the federal Department of Transportation, requires keeping the line near its maximum operating pressure and monitoring for eight hours, Callender said.

“We’ve gone through all of our own procedures for verifying the integrity of the line, and all the Department of Transportation’s,” he said.

ConocoPhillips will keep a team of people in place to continue monitoring the Yellowstone Pipeline after it restarts, he said.