Alarm sounded in Haifa after pipeline spill

Responsibility for continuation of emergency management officially transferred into the hands of KZA, the oil company, the Environment Ministry and Israel Police.

October 23, 2007 23:55
1 minute read.
oil barrel 88

oil barrel 88. (photo credit: )

Haifa municipal officials, including Mayor Yona Yahav, expressed concern Tuesday that thousands of residents could be in danger should one of the approximately three dozen pipelines running through the city rupture. City officials took to the talk shows a day after a pipe burst just south of the city, dumping what is now estimated to be up to 100 tons of oil into drainage ditches, local factories' basements and almost into the Mediterranean Sea. The pipeline that burst just outside of Tirat Carmel Monday evening also runs through Haifa from Ashkelon toward the oil refineries on the north side of the city. In addition to oil, the various underground pipes traveling below Israel's third-largest city contain even more dangerous substances, such as ammonia. After the crude oil pipeline burst, sand and dirt barriers were set up throughout the night along the path of the oil flow and in the direction of the beach. Emergency responders announced a wary victory late Monday, having prevented the oil from flowing westward onto the beaches and into the Mediterranean. As of Tuesday morning, said Haifa area Fire and Rescue spokesman Hezi Levy, all of the spillways were already covered and by the afternoon, teams were carrying out the removal of the contaminated sand. Responsibility for the continuation of the emergency management was officially transferred into the hands of KZA, the oil company, the Environment Ministry and Israel Police. Meanwhile, Oil Refineries Ltd., Israel's largest refinery, said the burst pipeline didn't affect production. "There is no impact," Benzion Horowitz, a spokesman for Oil Refineries, said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We have enough crude oil in stock to continue the refinery process as usual." Levy said it was likely that corrosion or aging material caused the pipe to burst. Dana Lavi-Manhard, a spokeswoman for Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co., which owns the pipe, said by phone that oil flows were expected to be restored "within hours." Bloomberg contributed to this report

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