2017 Mayflower Oil Spill

The 2013 Mayflower oil spill occurred on March 29, 2013, when the Pegasus Pipeline, owned by ExxonMobil and carrying Canadian Wabasca heavy crude from the Athabasca oil sands, ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Little Rock releasing about three,190 barrels (134,000 US gal; 507 m3) of oil.[1] Roughly 12,000 barrels (500,000 US gal; 1,900 m3) of oil and water combine was recovered. Twenty-two houses were evacuated.[2] The United States Environmental Safety Company (EPA) categorized the leak as a serious spill.[Three]

methanol installation

Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline carries 95,000 barrels per day (15,one hundred m3/d) of crude a distance of 850 miles (1,368 km) from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas. The pipeline is 20 inches (510 mm) in diameter and is buried a mean of 24 inches (sixty one cm) beneath ground.[Four] On April 2, 2013, PHMSA, the federal pipeline regulator, issued a corrective action order until repairs have been completed and all safety concerns addressed.[5]

1 Pegasus Pipeline
2 Substance spilled
three Response
four Results four.1 Water
four.2 Air quality

Pegasus Pipeline[edit]

The Pegasus Pipeline, (a/k/a, EMPCO Pipeline, and the Magnolia Pipeline) is 858 miles (1,381 km), and runs from Patoka IL to the Texas Gulf Coast. It was inbuilt two segments between 1947-1954 as an oil pipeline, which shipped products from Corsicana Texas, each north for industrial uses, and south to Gulf Coast refineries. [6]

The flow of the southern part was reversed in 1995, and once more in 2002. The northern part was abandoned in 2002, earlier than being re-commissioned in 2005-2006 and reversed to hold diluted bitumen from Alberta Tar Sands to refiners in Texas.[7]

The pipeline sheet steel was manufactured by Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co, using a producing process referred to as LF-ERW (Low-Frequency Electric Resistance Welds). This process has been recognized to have latent defects which eventually leads to failures. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Security Administration issued advisory bulletins in 1988 and 1989 to alert operators of factors contributing to failures of pipelines constructed with ERW pipe.[8]

Substance spilled[edit]

There was some controversy over the precise nature of the substance spilled in Mayflower. On April 5, the Environmental Protection Agency sent a request for extra information about Wabasca Heavy—the oil that spilled on the Pegasus line on March 29. The EPA’s question was: “Can the oil precisely be described as oil sands oil, or a type of diluted bitumen (dilbit)?” In his response on April 10, Richard Byrne, Exxon’s assistant chief legal professional of environmental and safety regulation said: “Canadian producers report their production of Wabasca Heavy as bitumen.”[9] This contradicts statements by firm officials that the substance spilled was merely “heavy oil,” not oil sands bitumen. However, the fabric Safety Information Sheet for the product confirms that the Wabasca Heavy is bitumen mixed with hydrocarbon diluents.[9][10]


Early photographs from local media showed crude oil operating along a suburban avenue and across lawns. The pipeline was shut after the leak was discovered on March 29. Twenty-two properties had been evacuated. The oil flowed into storm drains leading to close by Lake Conway, a fishing lake. First responders, including fire fighters, city staff, county road crews and police constructed dikes to dam culverts and stop the crude from fouling the lake. ExxonMobil deployed 3,600 feet (1,one hundred m) of containment boom across the lake. ExxonMobil stated that by early morning on March 30 there was no more oil spilling from the pipeline and trucks were there to help with the cleanup. Residents of the homes evacuated have been allowed to temporarily return to their properties escorted by police to retrieve personal gadgets. ExxonMobil set up a claims hotline for affected residents. Officials from the EPA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) initiated an investigation of the spill.[2]

There have been various estimates of how much crude spilled. Initially ExxonMobil didn’t state a precise quantity. On March 30, the company reported that 4,500 barrels (190,000 US gal; 720 m3) of oil and water mix had been recovered. The next day the corporate stated 12,000 barrels (500,000 US gal; 1,900 m3) of oil and water had been recovered. The company was unable to estimate how much of the overall was oil and how much water.[2] On April 10, UPI reported that around 5,000 barrels (210,000 US gal; 790 m3) of oil had been spilled however quoted Exxon as saying that the final quantity wouldn’t be identified till after the pipeline was repaired and refilled.[Eleven] Earlier than determination of the penalties for the violations of federal and state environmental legal guidelines, the estimated amount was corrected to three,190 barrels (134,000 US gal; 507 m3).[12]

On April 1, 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was closing the airspace from the ground to 1,000 ft (300 m) over the catastrophe area; the restriction spanned a 5-mile (8.0 km) radius.[Thirteen] The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the FAA’s restriction said “solely relief aircraft operations beneath direction of Tom Suhrhoff” have been permitted to enter the designated airspace. Surhrhoff was recognized as an “aviation advisor” to ExxonMobil.[14] On April 3 the FAA changed the restriction stage to permit media entry stating the media shouldn’t have been restricted from this type of incident, also claiming FAA was answerable for the error.[15] The flight restrictions over Mayflower had been cancelled on April 5.[16][17]

On April 2, PHMSA issued a corrective action order to ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. stopping ExxonMobil from restarting operations on the affected phase of the pipeline till it’s glad with repairs and all security considerations have been addressed. In response to the order: “continued operation of the Pegasus Pipeline can be hazardous to life, property, and the atmosphere.” Arkansas’ Legal professional Normal Dustin McDaniel promised a state investigation into the trigger and affect of the spill. In a letter to ExxonMobil McDaniel acknowledged: “There are lots of questions and concerns remaining as to the lengthy-time period impacts, environmental or otherwise, from this spill,” He asked ExxonMobil to preserve information pending his investigation.[5]

For a number of days after the spill, local residents complained concerning the “horrible smell” of the diluted bitumen.[18] Air high quality monitoring has been conducted by the EPA and ExxonMobil and posted online by the Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality. According to Fox 16 News, the air quality readings have been reviewed by the Arkansas Division of Well being and are under levels that may cause well being results for the overall inhabitants besides in cleanup areas the place emergency responders are working.[19]

On April 10, Attorney General McDaniel employed disaster administration agency Witt O’Brien’s to research the cleanup process.[20]


Members of the neighborhood have been engaged in gathering and spreading details about what occurred because of the lack of media coverage about the occasion.


For the reason that spill on March 29, there have been conflicting stories as to whether or not the oil sands oil has reached Lake Conway. Official studies have indicated that there isn’t any oil in Lake Conway, however an unbiased study claims to have samples displaying oil in the water column. Scott Smith of Opflex, an oil clear-up firm, states that official samples are of floor water solely: “Exxon and the EPA are taking instantaneous water samples, seize samples from the floor. Obviously if the contaminants in oil sands oil, and chemicals, are in the water column beneath the floor you’re not going to get any of those molecules to check.Keith Stephens of Arkansas Sport and Fish has countered these findings, declaring that there have been no dead fish or different wildlife that would point out that there’s oil in the primary physique of the lake.[21]

Air quality[edit]

Whereas initial experiences of air high quality by the Arkansas Department of Well being did not reveal levels that were of concern for health results, monitoring by a residents group has revealed important readings of toxic chemicals. In response to a representative of the Sierra Club: “Whole toxic hydrocarbons have been detected at more than 88,000 elements per billion within the ambient air.”[22] Exxon reported detecting benzene and other dangerous chemicals in early sampling at Mayflower but said air and water quality was within protected limits. Nevertheless, the report, released by the Faulkner Citizens Advisory Group, said residents were nonetheless exhibiting symptoms of exposure to harmful chemicals, including benzene and toluene, more than four weeks after the spill.[22]

Relationship to Keystone XL[edit]

One among the problems highlighted in nationwide news coverage is the connection to the Keystone XL Pipeline that has been proposed to carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the US Gulf Coast. An article within the National Geographic Information states: “Now, the damaged conduit is at the center of a national debate—the plan to transport much larger volumes of heavy oil from the Canadian oil sands by way of the United States, by means of both older pipelines like Pegasus and new ones just like the proposed Keystone XL.”[23] A Reuters article quotes Consultant Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat as saying: “Whether it’s the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or … (the) mess in Arkansas, Americans are realizing that transporting massive quantities of this corrosive and polluting gasoline is a foul deal for American taxpayers and for our setting.” The article notes that a report from the Canadian Vitality Pipeline Association, put together by oil and fuel consultancy Penspen, argues that “diluted bitumen is no more corrosive than other heavy crude.”[2] This latter declare has not been verified by unbiased peer-reviewed research and is the subject of a current study by the National Academy of Sciences.[24]

Investigative journalism[edit]

On July 22, 2013, InsideClimate News and the Arkansas Times introduced that a crowdfunding initiative had amassed over $25,000 to fund two reporters to investigate the causes and penalties of the spill. Inside Local weather Information noted that ExxonMobil had not but defined the cause of the 22-foot-long (7 m) gash in the pipeline, nor acknowledged how much oil had been spilled. The oil firm has maintained that the outcomes of an inspection it performed of the pipeline will not be out there to the general public. The Inside Climate News article said: “That leaves two crucial questions unanswered: Did Exxon manage and check its damaged Pegasus pipeline in keeping with established pointers? And, if it did, is the Arkansas accident a warning that other pipelines could be at risk?”[25]

The 2 reporters chosen for this project are Elizabeth McGowan and Sam Elfing. McGowan was part of the InsideClimate News group that gained the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Nationwide Reporting for its coverage of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill. Eifling is an Arkansas native who has written for quite a lot of publications, together with Slate and the Columbia Journalism Overview.[25]

Authorized action[edit]

Residents of Mayflower are seeking cost from ExxonMobil for the environmental harm brought on by the spill. By initiating motion, they’ve compelled the state and federal governments to file a lawsuit against the corporate. In keeping with Arkansas Attorney Normal Dustin McDaniel, the lawsuit got here quickly—within three months after the spill—but he mentioned that the governments have been pressured to act. Citizens might file suits in lieu of the federal government, if the federal government will not act. A threatened lawsuit from displaced residents pressured the state and federal authorities to file swimsuit, or lose the chance. “We had 60 days to either resolve our claims or be masters of our personal ship and, certainly, I feel that the Department of Justice and the State Legal professional General’s workplace have a duty to litigate on behalf of the governments of the state and the federal authorities relatively than abdicating that to personal legal professionals,” McDaniel said. Commenting about ExxonMobil, McDaneil added: “I think that they’ve done a extremely good job with response and cleanup, but then they break the regulation after they store the stuff that they removed from the location.” The company had stored materials, including soil, water, concrete and wood chips, in massive barrels at a company-owned site close by. Arkansas officials had not granted permission to retailer hazardous material and have ordered the company to cease instantly.[26]

In response to Fox sixteen News, native residents banded together on April 5, 2013 and April eight, 2013 at a “Mayflower Oil Spill Town Assembly hosted by Johnson & Vines Attorneys” to debate their authorized rights.[27] Since that point, along with the State action file by the Lawyer Common, a mass motion has been filed by two regulation companies in Arkansas state courtroom in Faulkner County, Arkansas: Johnson & Vines[28] (member of the American Injury Legal professional Group)[29] and partnering agency, Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton.[30]

In 2015, ExxonMobil settled costs that it violated the federal Clear Water Act and state environmental laws, for $5.07 million, including $4.19 million in civil penalties. It didn’t admit legal responsibility.[1]


A number of problems with the pipe seam were recognized as the reason for the failure. Hook cracks, extremely low impression toughness, and elongation properties have been named for the pipe examined. The low-frequency electric resistance weld (ERW) pipe manufacturing course of, used to make this pipe, has been identified to have weaknesses with hook cracks and hardness issues.[31][32][33]

Record of oil spills
List of pipeline accidents within the United States

^ a b Stempel, Jonathan (2015-08-12). “Decide approves Exxon Mobil settlement over 2013 Arkansas spill”. Reuters. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
^ a b c d Kristen Hays and Matthew Robinson (March 31, 2013) Exxon cleans up Arkansas oil spill; Keystone plan assailed. Reuters. Retrieved on: 2013-04-07.
^ Michael Schwirtz (March 30, 2013). Oil Pipeline Ruptures in Arkansas. The brand new York Occasions. Retrieved on: 2013-04-07.
^ Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality (March 30, 2013). Mayflower oil Spill Response: Key facts. Retrieved on: 2013-04-thirteen.
^ a b Nuss, J. (April 2, 2013). Arkansas Oil Spill Investigation: State Legal professional Common To Look Into ExxonMobil Pipeline Rupture. Huffington Put up. Retrieved on: 2013-05-06.
^ Douglass, Elizabeth (2013-11-14). “Exxon Ignored, Masked Security Threats in Years Earlier than Pegasus Pipeline Burst”. InsideClimate News. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
^ “Archived copy” (PDF). Archived from the unique (PDF) on April 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
^ “PHMSA – Advisory Bulletins”. Phmsa.dot.gov. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
^ a b Gallucci, Maria (April 18, 2013). Dilbit or Not? Wabasca Crude Is the Query. InsideClimate News. Retrieved on: 2013-06-05.
^ Cenovus Power Inc. (April 10, 2013). Materials Security Knowledge Sheet – Heavy Crude Oil/Diluent Mix. Retrieved on: 2013-06-05.
^ United Press International (April 10, 2013). Exxon faces deadline for oil spill. UPI.com Retrieved on: 2013-04-thirteen.
^ “Correction: Oil Leak-Arkansas story”. CNS News. Associated Press. 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the unique on April 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
^ Gavin Lesnick (April 3, 2013). No-fly zone in place over Mayflower oil spill. Arkansas Democrat-GazetteArkansasOnline. Retrieved on: 2013-04-07.
^ Sims, Scarlet (2013-04-03). “FAA amends no-fly order | TheCabin.internet – Conway, Arkansas”. TheCabin.web. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
^ “FAA Cancels Flight Restrictions over Mayflower Dilbit Spill | Aviation Impact Reform”. Aireform.com. 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
^ Federal Aviation Administration NOTAM Search. NOTAM 3/8699 was cancelled by NOTAM three/9343, which, in turn was cancelled on April 5, 2013 at 18:22.
^ Peeples, L. April 10, 2013. Arkansas Oil Spill Well being Complaints Emerge In Mayflower. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved on: 2013-05-28.
^ Fox 16 Information (April four, 2013). Air High quality Information for Mayflower Space Now Online. KLRT-Television, Little Rock AR. Retrieved on: 2013-04-09.
^ Hays, Kristen (April 12, 2013). “Exxon working to take away damaged a part of Arkansas oil pipeline”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
^ Kauffman, J. (April 23, 2013). Tar Sands Oil in Lake Conway? KUAR Public Radio. Retrieved on: 2013-05-06.
^ a b UPI.com (April 30, 2013). “Citizen group sees ‘toxic’ oil soup in Arkansas”. United Press Worldwide. Retrieved on: 2013-05-05.
^ Bret Schulte (April four, 2013). Oil Spill Spotlights Keystone XL Issue: Is Canadian Crude Worse?. Nationwide Geographic Information. Retrieved on: 2013-04-08
^ Paul W. Parfomak (January 9, 2013). Maintaining America’s Pipelines Safe and Secure: Key Points for Congress. Congressional Analysis Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R41536. Retrieved on: 2013-04-08.
^ a b Feldman, Stacey (July 22, 2013). InsideClimate News, Arkansas Occasions Attain Funding Objective to Conduct Oil Spill Investigation. Inside Climate Information. Retrieved: 2013-07-22.
^ Curwood, Steve (June 27, 2013). U.S., state officials file lawsuit towards ExxonMobil over Arkansas oil spill. Public Radio InternationalI “Living on Earth.” Retrieved: 20132-06-27.
^ Manley, Marci (April 5, 2013). Little Rock Attorneys Plan City Assembly for Mayflower Residents. Fox16.com Retrieved on: 2013-04-05.
^ “Private Injury Legal professional | Little Rock, AR Harm Attorneys”. Johnsonvines.com. 2016-08-11. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
^ “Private Damage Lawyers Who Battle For Justice”. Legal professional Group. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
^ “Lawyers Serving to Folks – Since 1890 | AL, AR, KY | Private Harm Lawyers – Birmingham Alabama | Little Rock Arkansas | Fayetteville Arkansas | Lexington Kentucky”. Hwnn.com. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on July eleven, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
^ “Archived copy” (PDF). Archived from the unique (PDF) on November 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
^ “Archived copy” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
Exterior hyperlinks[edit]

6 things you might want to know about the Arkansas oil spill Salon.
Exxon Oil Spill Photos From Mayflower, Arkansas Posted By EPA. The Huffington Publish.
Interactive Google Map – Map ready by neighborhood members indicating oil damage and different results.
Aerial Photography of Plume On Wings of Care .org flyover Day 15- Friday 2013 April 12
[1] PHMSA Report.

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