A heavy downpour late caused water and mud runoff to flow into lowlands where YPF and the Brazilian oil company Petrobras extract oil.
The force of the runoff broke cables from production wells, sweeping hydro-carbonic waste and water high in salt into the watershed. Spill protection company Emergencia Petrolera lined the riverbed with barriers in the case of further rains or runoff from pre-existing toxic substances.
Engineer Miguel Boyero stated that although the water that washed from lowlands into the river had a high amount of salt, little hydrocarbon actually reached the river. Both Río Negro and La Pampa have performed studies on the river water, both of which came back negative for dangerous substances.
Carlos Yemma, head of the Intrajurisdictional Colorado River Committee (COIRCO), reported that the situation was not as serious as it could have been because “there was little volume and Petrobras acted quickly.” He says the spillage amounted to 100 cubic metres, “less then the volume that arrives at the river basin per second, which is 150 cubic metres.”
Meanwhile, local legislators Magdalena Odarda of Río Negro and Beatriz Kreitmann or Neuquén have appealed to COIRCO to “ordain an immediate and profound investigation into the episode” and to “dispatch all the means of control it deems necessary to avoid the continued degradation of life in the Colorado River due to the shared irresponsibility of the companies that exploit the extraction and transfer of hydrocarbons.”
Ricardo Esquivel, head of Neuquén’s environmental department, reiterates their firmness, insisting that the spill was indeed significant “for the enormous environmental impact that it generated” and reiterated that above all, the province would remain resolved about regulating non-conventional oil and gas drilling.
From | The Argentina Independent
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