MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Those who oversee Lake Maumelle, a drinking water source for most of central Arkansas, fear the effects of a rupture to the Exxon oil pipeline, which runs within 600 feet of the lake.
"The only way to eliminate the risk of this pipeline completely is to remove it from the watershed [area]," said John Tynan with Arkansas Central Water.
The utility, which serves around 400 utility customers, said they view the pipeline as a "ticking bomb" and have put safety measures in place should a spill occur.
"We have installed a number of facilities along the north shore of the lake to be able to quickly and efficiently deploy booms to contain any oil should a spill occur," said Tynan.
In fact, 13.5 miles of the pipeline run through the watershed area.
Tynan said the pipeline sits within 600 feet of Lake Maumelle. Run-off in the area drains directly into the lake, and though the pipeline does not run under the lake, there are places where it crosses .
"The pipeline was present when the lake was built. Actually a portion of the pipeline was relocated so that it would not run under the lake itself," said Tynan.
He said Arkansas Central Water has contacted Exxon Mobile to have them inspect the pipeline before the operation starts back up.
"We do hope to start discussions with Exxon about relocating the pipeline outside of the lake Maumelle," said Tynan.
Tynan said Exxon Mobile assisted the utility company with installing a boom housing that holds 300 feet of boom. He said this would be used to contain a spill should one occur.