Rivers of oil flow in Arkansas town after pipeline rupture
A spill of more than 10,000 barrels deemed 'conservative' estimate
Thousands of barrels of oil flowed throughout the Arkansas town of Mayflower this week after an Exxon Mobil crude oil pipeline ruptured. Exxon shut the 50-centimeter Pegasus pipeline, which carries crude oil from Pakota, Illinois, to the Gulf Coast, after the leak was discovered late last week.
Twenty-two homes were evacuated following the incident. Clean-up crews had recovered approximately 4,500 barrels of oil and water.
The spill occurred in a subdivision, according to local media reports, and Mayflower police said the oil had not reached the nearby Lake Conway.
A spill of more than 10,000 barrels was deemed "to be conservative" estimate by federal, state and local officials.
"The air quality does not likely present a human health risk, with the exception of the high pooling areas, where clean-up crews are working with safety equipment," Exxon said in a statement.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had categorised the rupture as a "major spill," Exxon said. Twenty-two homes were evacuated following the incident. Clean-up crews had recovered approximately 4,500 barrels of oil and water.
The spill occurred at an inopportune time, as the U.S. state department is considering the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry 800,000 barrels of crude per day from Canada's oil sands to the Gulf Coast.
Environmentalists have sought to block its approval over concern about the impact of developing the oil sands. Supporters say Keystone will help bring down the cost of fuel in the United States.
The Arkansas spill was the second incident last week where Canadian crude has spilled in the U.S. A train carrying Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of oil on Wednesday.
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