Monday, April 15, 2013

TOP STORY >> Exxon is told pipeline can't run near lake

Leader staff writer

Just like they said they would after the oil spill in Mayflower, the board of directors that runs Central Arkansas Water has asked ExxonMobil to move the 20-inch line that runs 13.5 miles through the Lake Maumelle watershed.

They want the line moved within five years, but in the meantime, they want ExxonMobil to tell them what caused the Mayflower rupture and to prove to them the line won’t rupture inside the Maumelle watershed.

CAW serves 17 cities and communities, including Jacksonville and Cabot. Currently, Jacksonville gets about 60 percent of its water from CAW while Cabot gets only 20 percent. Most of Cabot’s water comes from wells.

The request to move the pipeline is in the form of a board resolution passed Thursday with the title “Resolution requesting ExxonMobil to provide detailed action plans to Central Arkansas Water (CAW) outlining immediate and short-term spill risk reduction measures as well as a long-term plan for the relocation of the oil pipeline outside of the watershed and that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration require said actions by ExxonMobil.”

The resolution declares that the 20-inch Pegasus line “poses significant risks to the quality and safety of the drinking water for 400,000 Central Arkansans.”

The board asks ExxonMobil to present CAW with details about the cause of the rupture at Mayflower and a thorough evaluation of the portion of the line that bisects the Maumelle watershed.

The Leader received a copy of the resolution from John Tynan, CAW watershed protection manager, who was responding to a request for updates on CAW’s concerns about the line.

Tynan said Lake Maumelle supplies about two-thirds of the water used by CAW and that in an emergency Lake Winona and other sources could supply the system for two or three days.

“The evaluation should demonstrate that the pipeline within the Lake Maumelle watershed is free of any defect or flaw that would compromise the integrity of the pipe or that may have contributed to the Mayflower rupture,” according to the resolution.

The resolution asks the Pipeline and Hazardous Mate-rials Safety Administration to require ExxonMobil to comply with CAW’s requests which include that ExxonMobil should, within six months, prepare a report detailing the relocation of the pipeline.

The resolution also asks ExxonMobil to implement within the next year a wide range of risk-mitigation activities in the watershed, including but not limited, to “response plan updates, notification improvements, more frequent monitoring activities, additional training for local emergency responders, additional response materials and equipment, pipeline redundancy and integrity improvements and other efforts requested by CAW and other federal, state and local emergency response agencies.”