Ruptured Pipeline Coats L.A. Streets in ‘Knee-High’ Crude Oil

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.

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.

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


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

That is what you get when you use cheapest builder and supplies.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

Better in the streets than in a forest, a lake or the ocean. Better yet, run a hose into the oil company or Monsanto exec's office or into Congress and start pumping that crude oil until it fills up their nasty little retreats.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Just another example of the damage the oil companies are doing to the environment and communities. More leaks - going on weekly basis now.

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Just awful. :0(

David B.
David B3 years ago

well they keep pushing in B C for the pipeline and increase in tanker traffic and so far the people of B C keep pushing back .they don't want it or need it here . the x-on vadeze and the ferry sinking are still too fresh in our minds .and especially the ferry , which ran a regular run and still struck and sank .when that happens with the one tanker , there goes our pristine coast line forever and for what ?? funny , Enbridge held a referendum in kitamat where the ferry terminal would be and the town rejected it . too cool . you can be the government and say this will happen but , there are no guarantees there are just way too many people in B C don't want Alberta's dirty oil flowing thru our land .and I've heard people say this is one thing they feel strong enough to fight for , physically .I think have have forgotten clayoquot sound .

Debra G.
Debra G3 years ago

Not mostly industrial: Atwater Village borders Griffith Park and Silver Lake to the west, Glendale to the north and east, and Glassell Park to the south.15,000 residents in the 1.78-square-mile Atwater Village neighborhood. Much of Atwater Village lies in the old Los Angeles River flood plain. NOTE: It is bounded on the south and west by the LA River (hence its name). So this oil will probably end up in the water and the ocean.

Mary B.
Mary B3 years ago

All upper management of these oil companies should be required by law to go immediately to the clean up sight, useing their own money and spending as long as it takes , helping to clean up the mess. Nor should they recieve another dime in pay untill the clean up is finished.

Val M.
Val M3 years ago

Sadly noted

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B3 years ago

Terrible. Thank you for the article.