Pipeline spills 80,000 gallons of oil - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Pipeline spills 80,000 gallons of oil

Command post in Torbert Command post in Torbert
Command post in Torbert Command post in Torbert
Chopper surveying oil spill Chopper surveying oil spill

Environmental workers are behind a tremendous effort to sop up an estimated 80,000 gallons of oil that leaked from an underground pipe.

Around 80 workers have gathered in the small town of Torbert to clean up a crude oil spill from an ExxonMobile pipeline that runs three feet underground.

Vice President of Operations for ExxonMobile Pipeline, Karen Tyrone, explained the company's central control system in Houston Texas alerted workers on Saturday oil was leaking along the 22-inch pipeline that runs from St. James Parish southeast of Baton Rouge and carries crude oil to northern Louisiana and eastern Texas.

"We had an indication on our pipeline system of less pressure. We immediately shut the pipeline down," Tyronne said.

Tyrone said a technician with the company could see the oil seeping from the ground when he arrived in Torbert.

ExxonMobile, a private company and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality are surveying the area from the air and on the ground. Tyrone said vacuum trucks are cleaning up the site.

"We have a number of booms in a small channel the oil got into and have it contained on land and don't want it to move further," Tyronne said.

The Point Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office has set up security near the area to monitor the public.

"Because U.S. 190 is very busy we want to make sure we don't compound this emergency with one on the highway," Sheriff Bud Torres said.

ExxonMobile said it could be weeks before they discover what went wrong.

ExxonMobile plans to remove a piece of the compromised pipe for testing to prevent failures in the future.

The company reports the line was last inspected in 2007.

No injuries have been reported.

ExxonMobil said federal regulators have been informed and the cleanup is being coordinated with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

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