Future of Mayflower Pipeline

Archive picture: ruptured pipe

(KATV) Little Rock - Six months ago, Exxon officials gave a 6 month timeline for when the inspection report would be released. Monday, while taking questions from city leaders, they said it could take up to a year.

Monday, three ExxonMobil Pipeline employees explained in detail the inspection of the Pegasus pipeline from 2006 to 2013 and talked about the oil spill. Karen Tyrone said, "We are going to restart the line when PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) says we can restart the line."

Karen Tyrone says they will submit a plan to restart it, only after they understand what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Johnita Jones is the pipeline risk and integrity manager. She says they are required to evaluate each pipeline on an individual bases. {}"In 2010 we ran a number of tools, what we call a magnetic flux tool to look for corrosion, we ran a caliper tool to look for dents, and we also ran what we call a transverse tool to look for seam anomalies in the first half of the pipeline."

Jones says test after the spill concluded the failure is attributed to manufacturing defects. The "why" is still being investigated.

Glen Hooks with the Sierra Club says the 65 year old pipeline is carrying materials it was not designed to carry. "Now it carries more of a denser, hotter, more corrosive material that is pumped at higher pressures. It is not really a surprise that it burst. It was more of a surprise when it burst."

Tyrone disputes that, "There is nothing to indicate that the product being shipped in that line caused a problem."

Hooks says he will campaign for the Mayflower pipeline to be shut down for good and for the line that runs by Lake Maumelle to be moved. "It puts the drinking water of 400,000 people at risk there is really no reward that is good enough to justify that risk."

Nicolas Medina with ExxonMobil says all options are on the table, which includes retiring the line.

Hooks says he is ready for the results of the investigation on why the pipeline burst, "There was an inspection that was completed in February of this year, the explosion happened in March. Either they have information that showed what was going to happen and they didn't do anything about it, or they had information that showed that nothing was going to happen and their methods are not up to par."