• Comment

Update: Oil leak investigation pending

Claims filed by Mayflower residents

Posted: April 1, 2013 - 9:39am
A member of ExxonMobil's cleanup crew is reflected in a drainage ditch along State Highway 365 in Mayflower. A sheen of oil is floating on top of the water's surface. COURTNEY SPRADLIN PHOTO
A member of ExxonMobil's cleanup crew is reflected in a drainage ditch along State Highway 365 in Mayflower. A sheen of oil is floating on top of the water's surface. COURTNEY SPRADLIN PHOTO

Until plans to excavate and investigate the area around the crude oil pipeline that dumped several thousands of barrels of oil in Mayflower are approved by the US Department of Transportation, the cause of the rupture will remain unknown, an ExxonMobil spokesman said Monday.

"We've not yet gotten authority to excavate around the pipeline…We're pulling together a plan to get it approved," said Alan Jeffers, ExxonMobil media relations manager.

The plan will be submitted to the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which enforces regulations on the 2.6 million miles of pipes in the United States, according to the group's website.

Jeffers said ExxonMobil officials have confirmed they've observed several thousands of barrels of oil above ground in Mayflower, but an exact amount is not known.

One barrel is equivalent to 42 gallons of oil.

"What we know is there was a breach in the pipeline, a rupture, and the oil which is under pressure came out. We shut down valves on either side to keep the oil from flowing. Somehow there was a failure in the pipeline. We do not know the cause of it," Jeffers said.

Three days after the line ruptured in the front yard of a home in the Northwoods subdivision off of Main Street in Mayflower, 12,000 barrels of an oil and water mixture had been recovered from pools and small water surfaces.Fifteen vacuum trucks have been pumping the mixture into tanks, Jeffers said.

Jeffers and Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson said again at a press conference Monday no oil had made its way into Lake Conway.

Dodson said shortly after the leak was discovered Friday, crews worked "feverishly" in several locations to stop the flow to the lake.

The rupture is about nine-tenths of a mile from Lake Conway.

According to Dodson, the oil flowed down North Starlight Road in the subdivision and into a culvert, passed under Main Street, the railroad, US Highway 365 and under Interstate 40 to a lowland area.

The lowland area Dodson described is just north of the Bell Slough State Wildlife Management Area.

Dodson said crews installed wooden flood gates at culverts near Lake Conway and dumped gravel as "our last line of defense" before oil could reach the lake.

A pond on the south side of US Highway 89 South that feeds to Lake Conway was being monitored Monday, and floating barricades are seen just on the other side where the culvert empties into the lake.

Jeffers said the barricades are a precaution, and if oil gets to the lake, it will be a "sheen" on top of the water."This (barricade) will keep it in one area so it can be recovered," he said.

Oil is present in drainage ditches and low, wet areas near Bell Slough along Dam Road.

Several ducks covered in oil have been recovered from the area and are being treated at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Pope County.

All recovery efforts are being paid for by ExxonMobil.

"We'll cover all costs. We are the responsible party here," Jeffers said.

More than 50 Mayflower residents had filed claims since Friday, he said.

He encouraged others with questions or claims to call the claims line at 1-800-876-9291.

"This isn't fast, so we'll be around for a while. But we're committed to staying here until it is cleaned up," he said.

The 20-inch line that ruptured Friday is part of a 850-mile crude oil pipeline that stretches from Patoka, Illin. to Nederland, Tex.

Jeffers said the oil is not "tar sand," but crude oil produced from a conventional drill well in Alberta, Canada.

The crude oil makes its way to Texas through the pipeline at a rate of 95,000 barrels a day, where it is then piped to refineries in the Gulf area.

The line is 24 inches under the ground and was installed in the late 1940s, according to Jeffers.

The line's age does not determine its integrity, he said, and the lines should have a "long life."

Residents have returned to the neighborhood, but not to homes on North Starlight Road, where oil is still present in yards and on the street.

 

  • Comment
Comments (15) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Oilman
742
Points
Oilman 04/01/13 - 11:09 am
8
1
Mobil Layed oil line in 1942-43

The pressure was doubled about five years ago and then they said it would not be able to handle that kind of pressure because of its age. Their own men said the pipe was so old that it had thin wall in several areas and needed to be replaced. 70 years old seems like a super long life to me and they have had several breaches and blowouts over the years, even bigger than this release so I don't know where that come from.

reader
18438
Points
reader 04/01/13 - 04:18 pm
2
1
Thanks for that information Oilman

We know those involved are never going to give us accurate information on it so they can cover their butts.

Budnmud
22153
Points
Budnmud 04/01/13 - 07:51 pm
2
0
OK

Just for the record, there are other much more volatile pipe lines running through our state. There is a jet fuel line running through Conway, also in other areas of the state are a Chlorine line and an Ammonia line - can you imagine the issues if one of those were ruptured....

sevenof400
7002
Points
sevenof400 04/01/13 - 08:03 pm
3
0
Well, that's ....

.... discomforting to say the least.

justoffcenter
752
Points
justoffcenter 04/01/13 - 01:08 pm
5
8
Call PETA, dang Duck.

We kill thousands of ducks a year in Arkansas, half never find their way to the dinner table but are left in the woods. But get oil on one and someone call the goverment, we got to make them pay.
Get real, it is a bad oil spill, but not that bad. Come on with the thumbs down.

mikeng1994
11056
Points
mikeng1994 04/01/13 - 01:41 pm
5
6
Tree Huggers Unite

Proposed at the PETA command post in Mayflower is their new motto

Give a "filtered word", save a duck!!

reader
18438
Points
reader 04/01/13 - 04:17 pm
8
1
Mike maybe you should think through your position on this

there are lots of poor and almost poor people who feed themselves on what they catch in Lake Conway. If the lake becomes polluted with these poisonous chemicals, many people will be hurting for food or being poisoned by it because they have no other sources. Many of them are too proud to take food stamps or assistance so its really not a funny matter to those people. My folks lived on the lake for years, and I know what I am saying. My folks were better off and did not have to survive off the lake, but many people do!

sevenof400
7002
Points
sevenof400 04/01/13 - 05:31 pm
3
0
It may be the case that every lake...

...with an ample supply of fish creates a similar environment but I too have seen what appears to be a considerable number of people who appear to be fishing for their day's meal from the many banks of Lake Conway.

Let's all hope this spill is quickly contained and cleaned up.

Well stated, Reader.

justoffcenter
752
Points
justoffcenter 04/02/13 - 08:09 am
1
3
Get over it

How many crack babies do you care about? Never saw you post anything about the outcome of that. Let a damn duck, that would have been killed and left in the woods, get oil on it and 'oh my God' we have got to take action. No oil is in the lake, none. So no hungry people right, nope on that also. Do something other than write on the blog. I also lived on the lake for almost 20 years, saw more drugs than fish.

sonicstring
1023
Points
sonicstring 04/01/13 - 01:59 pm
4
1
Multiple WTH's ?

Oilman..What are you basing your story on ? Do you have anyway to back that story up ? Not calling you out..just saying if it's true and proveable then residents may have more clout to take to court.
Just off center.. there is a big difference between hunting ducks and letting them go to waste and a oil spill. Wasting hunting kills is illegal by the way. In a oil spill its a whole different story. When someone shoots a duck most of the time it falls down, is dead and thats the end of it. With a oil spill not only are the ducks affected but the small fish they feed on, the animals that feed on the ducks, the plants and other wildlife and eventually, just possibly even us.
I'll not waste a thumbs down on you. You did that to yourself.
So far the only creatures affected are the ones in the tributaries and feeder creeks.
Now as far as the story goes..When did we go back to pre-1980's state abreviations ?

Back to Top