Major oil spill sparks health fears in Arkansas

HOMES have been evacuated as emergency crews try to contain a pipeline breach that caused thousands of barrels of crude oil to spill near Mayflower, Arkansas, in what experts are calling a “major spill”.
Global supermajor Exxon Mobil, which was previously fined for not inspecting the Pegasus pipeline, has begun the cleanup but not yet released the amount of oil spilled.
The Environmental Protection Authority has categorised the incident as a “major spill”, with 12,000 barrels of oil and water recovered so far.
Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company Southern operations manager Karen Tyrone said the pipeline had been shut and cleanup crews were working to get the spill under control.
“We regret that this incident has occurred and apologize for any disruption and inconvenience that it has caused,” she said.
“Our focus is on protecting health, safety and the environment. We will be here until the cleanup is complete.” Cleanup crews were using specialised equipment to recover oil and monitor air quality while additional resources were being mobilised, a company statement said.
The Pegasus pipeline is a 65-year old, 20-inch diameter pipeline that stretches 1380km from Illinois to Texas. The pipeline can carry up to 90,000 barrels of oil per day. Exxon has acknowledged the impact on wildlife with 10 “oiled ducks” treated at a local animal welfare centre. Heavy crude mixed oil is extremely difficult to cleanup due to its thick viscosity. Fifteen vacuum trucks remain at the spill with 33 storage tanks deployed to store the oil.

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