Oil spill said to be worst in Israel’s history

//Oil spill said to be worst in Israel’s history

Oil spill said to be worst in Israel’s history

By | 2014-12-06T12:22:43+00:00 December 6th, 2014|Israel|0 Comments

The Environmental Protection Ministry called the oil spill from the Tran-Israel pipeline in southern Israel one of the worst pollution events in the history of Israel on Thursday and said the clean up will cause landscape damage and could take many months.

 

 

Oil spill in Evrnona Nature Reserve near Eilat. (Photo: Roi Telby)
Oil spill in Evrnona Nature Reserve near Eilat. (Photo: Roi Telby)

 

Millions of liters of crude oil spilled out over 6-7 kilometers near Route 90 and into the Evrona Nature Reserve near Eilat after the Tran-Israel oil pipeline burst on Wednesday night.

 

 

The spill had led to 80 people being hospitalized for respiratory issues in the neighboring city of Aqaba in Jordan, according to Israeli media.

 

The Evrona Nature reserve, which is home to a rare population of Doum palm trees, Acacia trees, and Dorcas gazelles, was hit hard by the spill and the clean up is presumed to take months.

 

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The Tran-Israel Pipeline Company said they still do not know the reason for the pipe bursting, though some media have reported it was due to maintenance work.

 

At this stage, crews have begun funneling the spilled oil and are expected to finish the preliminary clean up by the end of the weekend.

 

Oil spill in Evrona Nature Reserve. (Photo: Roi Telby)
Oil spill in Evrona Nature Reserve. (Photo: Roi Telby)

 

However, the Environmental Protection Ministry said the rehabilitation of the nature preserve and surrounding area could take months.

 

“We may have to plough some of the land and the landscape will probably be damaged as several tractors will have to enter a delicate nature preserve,” said the Environmental Protection Ministry.

 

The Evrona Nature Preserve includes a large population of rare Middle-Eastern trees, rodents and reptiles, and birds. The chief scientist of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Yehoshua Shakedi, predicts that the spill spans 1,000 or more acres in the Evrona Nature Reserve.

 

Clean up begins near oil spill. (Photo: Roi Telby)
Clean up begins near oil spill. (Photo: Roi Telby)

 

“This is a flat area, and so the oil spread out over a large area and in several flowing channels,” explained Shakedi.

 

The Environmental Protection Ministry noted that the rare Doum palm trees in the reserve were not in danger and that the spill did not reach the border with Jordan, however the preserve still suffered heavy damages.

 

One of the main concerns is that the flooding of the oil, if not cleaned up swiftly, could spread further out into the preserve.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency said that the Green Police opened an investigation into the circumstances leading up to the spill and will assess whether the necessary steps were taken and how the various crews functioned as a response.

 

Oil contamination in Evrona Nature Reserve near Eilat. (Photo: Environmental Protection Agency)
Oil contamination in Evrona Nature Reserve near Eilat. (Photo: Environmental Protection Agency)

 

Dr. Gilad Golub, the CEO of the Environmental Services Company, specializes in the treatment of hazardous waste and pointed out that with every passing minute, more and more land is being polluted.

 

“The oil that was spilled created three sources of pollution: oil that must be pumped, oil polluting the soil that must be burned, and polluted soil that that needs immediate biological treatment,” Golub said.

 

“This is a large amount of oil, and therefore the several actions must be taken to reduce the speed of the damage and restore the contaminated land in the near future,” Golub said.

 

The Trans-Israel pipeline was built in 1957 to transfer oil from Iran to Europe, but today is used to transfer oil between Ashkelon and Eilat. The Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) operates the pipeline as well as several other oil pipelines in Israel.