Ruptured pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas removed, sent to lab for tests

    8:27 PM, Apr 15, 2013   |    comments
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    Video: Ruptured pipeline removed, sent to lab for tests

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    MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - Fifty-two feet of the Pegasus Pipeline in Mayflower has been removed from the North Woods subdivision.

    The process took all day Monday. Two excavators and more than two dozen workers removed the pipe in two sections, one 33-foot section and another 19-foot section including the 22-foot section that ruptured, causing more than 5,000 barrels of oil to spill.

    "The focal point for the day is the removal of the pipe where the burst occurred, " said Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson.

    Dodson believed the burst occurred along the seam of the pipeline. Workers covered the affected piece of pipe, closed off the ends and cleaned it to prevent any residual oil from contaminating the area.

    "It'll be exposed as little as possible. They will want to get that closure made. There are some welds that will need to be done, and it's not a quick process," said Dodson.

    The two pieces of pipe were placed on a flatbed trailer that left the site just after 4 p.m. Monday. They will be taken to a third party lab for investigation. Though Exxon has not said which lab will do the investigation, the transport company told THV 11 they were headed to Dallas, Texas with the pipes.  

    While the cause of the rupture will be determined by the lab, EPA Federal Scene Coordinator Nicolas Brescia said getting all the residents back in their homes could take several more weeks.

    "Probably in the next week or two, they're going to be working on removing parts of the storm drain. When they do that, it's going to affect the water line in this area, too, so that's going to affect the progress of getting the residents back in on one side of the street," explained Brescia.

    Brescia said the soil around the homes will be excavated, sampled and tested by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to ensure all the oil is removed--a job Dodson said is being done as efficiently as possible.

    "From what I gathered from the folks I'm hearing from and the community and neighborhood, they don't want it to be a rushed job, and we are working to be as thorough as we can," said Dodson.

    The EPA said they are concerned contaminated soil may be around the foundations of some of the homes. They said they are still organizing the clean up process for those areas that will likely take weeks to complete.

    Quick Facts:

    • The Pegasus is a 20-inch pipeline that spans 850 miles from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas.
    • The Pegasus Pipeline typically carries approximately 95,000 barrels per day. 
    •  At the time of the breach, the line was carrying Wabasca Heavy crude 
    •  The impacted section of the pipeline was installed in the late 1940s. 
    •  Integrity of any pipeline is not predicated by its age alone. Each pipeline is evaluated and managed based on its type of service, the results of ongoing inspections and other relevant data. 
    •  ExxonMobil Pipeline Company manages its pipelines with a detailed and systematic integrity management program, consistent with the requirements outlined by the PHMSA. 
    •  ExxonMobil Pipeline Company's systematic integrity management program includes, among other activities, cathodic protection, corrosion monitoring, internal inspections using hydrotesting, ground and air surveillance and the use of internal cleaning devices. 
    •  The pipeline is inspected on a regular basis in accordance with federal regulations. The most recent tests performed in 2006 and 2010 revealed no areas of concern. 
    •  Immediately prior to the incident, the pipeline met all requirements as outlined by PHMSA for operating under normal pressure and flow conditions.

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    (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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