UpdateExxonMobil recovers much of oil at Arkansas pipeline spill

04 April 2013 21:44  [Source: ICIS news]

(Releads and updates throughout)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil said on Thursday that much of the free-standing oil has been recovered from last week’s ruptured pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas.

“Regarding the spill size, we have said that a few thousand barrels of oil were observed in the area, and a response for 10,000 barrels was undertaken to ensure adequate resources are in place,” company spokesman Alan Jeffers said.

“Early in the response, we reported that 12,000 barrels of a water and oil mixture had been recovered. It’s mostly water and represents the majority of the free-standing oil,” he added.

ExxonMobil said in an update on Thursday that response crews are cleaning up the oil through pressure washing, absorbent pads and removal of contaminated soil and vegetation.

More than half of the impacted soil has been removed from the yards of the six homes impacted by the spill, and work is continuing so residents of the 22 evacuated homes can return as quickly as possible, the company added.

The incident has no impacted Mayflower’s drinking supply, and air quality remains below any necessary action levels, ExxonMobil said.

The Arkansas attorney general’s office has given ExxonMobil a deadline of 10 April to produce investigative reports, inspection documents and other information connected to the incident.

Dustin McDaniel issued the subpoena to the company earlier this week in regard to the 29 March incident near the town of Mayflower.

"The people of Arkansas deserve a full explanation from [ExxonMobil] about how this incident occurred and the extent of damages to private property and to our state's natural resources," McDaniel said on Thursday. "My office is determined to get that explanation through our investigation because, at the moment, we still have many more questions than we do answers."

ExxonMobil said on Wednesday that it is reviewing a corrective action order sent from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) that requires ExxonMobil to take “necessary corrective action to protect public, property and the environment from potential hazards” associated with the incident, said the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

ExxonMobil must obtain written approval from the director of PHMSA’s southwest region before the Pegasus pipeline can return to service.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (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 has said.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Pafford

By: Tracy Dang
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