RUPTURED pipeline repaired, placed back in service

Monday, August 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALTUS, Okla. (AP) _ A crude oil pipeline was back in service Saturday after a rupture caused it to dump up to 200,000 gallons of oil in a cotton field in rural Jackson County, authorities said.

The rupture occurred Friday when a road grader cleaning out ditches along a county road carved a six-inch hole into the pipeline, located about a mile west of Blair, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

The Jackson County Commissioner's Office built three dikes to help contain the oil, the patrol said. Emergency cleanup measures are expected to continue for several days, and long-term remediation could take months.

``We stopped the flow in two points, one upstream and one downstream from the rupture, to stop the leak,'' said Darren Beaudo, director of public affairs for BP Amoco, which owns the pipeline.

The pipeline _ which originates in Sundown, Texas, and continues to Cushing _ was repaired by midnight and put back in service.

Beaudo said most of the escaped crude oil has been recovered and redirected into the pipeline.

``It is a significant spill,'' Beaudo said. ``It's hard to put it in terms of large or small. If this was a five-barrel spill, we'd be doing the same thing, but yeah, this is significant.''

Officials at an elementary school in Altus about six miles from the spill began evacuating students over concern about a possible gas leak.

``Some people were a little nervous about it, but it wasn't a health hazard,'' Beaudo said. No one was injured.