5 million liters of oil leaked from Israeli pipeline

World Today

Crews in Israel are scrambling to clean up one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation’s history. A pipeline spilled 5 million liters of oil and it could contaminate a nearby resort city. The clean-up is expected to take months and costs billions of dollars. CCTV America’s Stephanie Freid reported the story from  the Arava Desert in Israel.

It’s painstaking work to remove millions of liters of spilled oil. It requires pumping and digging up soaked desert sand while working around the clock day and night.

5 million liters of oil leaked from Israeli pipeline

Crews in Israel are scrambling to clean up one of the worst environmental disaster's in the nation's history. A pipeline spilled 5 million liters of oil...and it could contaminate a nearby resort city. The clean-up is expected to take months and costs billions of dollars. CCTV America's Stephanie Freid reported the story from the Arava Desert in Israel.

Winter rains are predicted in the area within days. The resulting flash floods could send crude oil into the nearby Red Sea Gulf, around the world-renowned Eilat resort area shared by Jordan and Israel.

If that happens, the oil could contaminate delicate coral reefs and the broader Red Sea ecosystem. It could put a big dent Israeli revenues from foreign tourism.

The latest reports show the scale of the spill appears to be nearly double the original estimate. The latest reports from the pipeline company show a burst pipe released around five million liters of crude oil. Damage control teams have removed around 13,000 tons of polluted soil.

The spill was caused by a maintenance accident on a crude oil pipeline owned by Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline company. The company is footing the bill for clean-up teams and environmentalists working at the sight day and night for nearly a week.

Animals have fled the area, but desert plants are stuck where they are. Scientists on site are using infra-red scanning technology to gauge the magnitude of plant and tree damage.