UpdateCrews to replace soil, monitor air quality after ExxonMobil oil spill

02 April 2013 21:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil said cleanup operations are ongoing and the replacement of impacted soil is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, following last week’s rupture of the Pegasus pipeline and consequent oil spill in Arkansas.

A plan is being developed for the phased return of residents to the 22 homes that were evacuated from the incident, the company said in an update on Tuesday.

Both ExxonMobil and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are conducting continuous air quality monitoring, and data is being provided to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Air quality readings are below levels likely to cause health effects, with the exception of the cleanup areas, where the emergency responders are directly working, ExxonMobil said.

The company will fully cooperate with any investigation into the Mayflower incident, ExxonMobil spokesman Alan Jeffers added.

Jeffers’ response followed Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s announcement that his office will begin probing the incident and his request for the company to retain all documents and information related to it.

Thousands of barrels of oil were spilled into a residential neighbourhood near Mayflower and Lake Conway, leaving “significant damage to the state’s environment” and to property, McDaniel’s office said in a press release.

“This incident has damaged private property and Arkansas's natural resources. Homeowners have been forced from their homes as a result of this spill,” McDaniel said. "Requesting that Exxon secure these documents and data is the first step in determining what happened and preserving evidence for any future litigation.”

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is developing an excavation and removal plan for the part of the pipeline that ruptured, ExxonMobil said on Monday.

Response crews are continuing cleanup operations for the affected area, where 12,000 bbl of oil and water had been recovered as of Monday, the US oil giant said.

“Lake Conway was not impacted, and a containment system using boom has been laid out as a precautionary measure to ensure oil does not get into the lake,” the company said.

The EPA has categorised the incident as a major spill, and a number of federal, state and local agencies are assisting ExxonMobil with response efforts.

The cause of the spill is under investigation, the company said.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Pafford

By: Tracy Dang
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