Written by Joanna M. Foster
Residents in Atwater Village in northeast Los Angeles woke up Thursday morning to find crude oil flowing down their streets. A 20 inch wide, above-ground oil line ruptured around 1 a.m., sending a geyser of oil 30 feet into the air according to local reports. The oil has coated a half-square-mile area of the mostly industrial neighborhood.
Oil in some areas is reported to be knee-high. According to current estimates, 10,000 gallons of crude oil poured onto the streets before the line could be remotely turned off. No injuries have been reported so far and the Fire Department and a hazardous materials team remain on the scene. Several businesses — including a nearby nightclub, which was evacuated during the spill — have reported damages. Cars parked near the site of the spill, 5175 W. San Fernando Rd. have also been affected.
— Margaret Carrero (@MargaretCarrero) May 15, 2014
The AP reported that Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott says there is no “visible evidence” that the oil has made its way down storm drains, but that it was possible that oil had gotten under manhole covers. If oil does end up in the storm water system, the oil will soon appear in the Los Angeles River, and soon after that in the Pacific Ocean. According to the L.A. Times, emergency teams are using sand to try and keep the oil from spreading.
Crude oil runs down street uncontained heading towards more businesses in Atwater Village. pic.twitter.com/fObzwdrvlO
— Newsreel TV (@newsreeltv) May 15, 2014
Neither the Fire Department nor media reports have so far stated which company operates the pipeline.
California’s most devastating oil spill was back in 1969, when 100,000 barrels of crude spilled into the Santa Barbara Channel — an event that helped spark the modern environmental movement.
This piece has been updated to reflect the revised estimate of oil spilled. The Los Angeles Fire Department previously estimated that 50,000 gallons of crude oil had been spilled.
This post originally appeared on ThinkProgress
Photo Credit: NBS News Video
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