Oil spills, no matter where they occur, elicit environmental concern and avoiding these disasters should be a priority. Old pipelines that are not regularly maintained and carry large amounts of crude oil long distances are of particular concern. One such pipeline is the 65 year-old Pegasus pipeline owned by ExxonMobil. On March 29, 2013, 795,000 L of Wabasca Heavy Canadian crude oil spilled into a neighborhood of Mayflower, Arkansas, when the Pegasus pipeline ruptured. This spill led to the evacuation of many homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Drainage ditches in the affected neighborhood drained oil into a nearby cove of Lake Conway. This lake is popular for recreational fishing, thus concerns were raised not only about the potential effects of the oil spill on area residents, but also the lake and its biological communities. Ultimately, this project assessed the effect of the oil spill in water and sediment samples on freshwater test organisms. Samples were collected at 6 sites in the affected neighborhood and in Lake Conway. Chronic Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) tests were performed on water samples using Pimephales promelas and Ceriodaphnia dubia. Acute sediment toxicity tests were performed using Chironomus dilutus. These tests measured sub-lethal toxicity in at least one of the sampled sites, indicating that further investigation of environmental after-effects is warranted.
Kennon, M. E. and Bouldin, J. L.
"Aquatic Effects of a Localized Oil Spill on Lake Conway, AR and Its Tributaries,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 69
, Article 13.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol69/iss1/13