May 15 10:56 AM

Crude awakening: Burst oil pipeline spews thousands of gallons near LA

[updated: 3 p.m. EDT]  ruptured oil pipeline near the Southern California city of Glendale leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil onto surrounding streets in the early morning hours Thursday.

The 20-inch pipe, located near San Fernando road in Atwater Village, was initially reported to have spewed 100,000 gallons of “crude oil” — a number that was quickly revised down to 50,000 gallons, with some local reports now saying the total is closer to 10,000 gallons.

The Los Angeles Times reports the reason for the downward revision was readings taken from tanker trucks vacuuming up the spill. There is no word on whether the estimate takes into account any oil that may have gone down storm drains or manhole covers.

According to wire services, Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott says there's no "visible evidence" that the oil has entered storm drains, which empty into the Los Angeles River. But he says it's possible that oil has seeped under manhole covers.

The pipeline reportedly sent a geyser of oil into the air and leaked for over four hours before it was turned off remotely. The slick was said to be knee deep and 40-feet wide in some places. 

According to the L.A. Times, first responders “were able to largely contain the spill after contacting a nearby cement company and using loads of sand to cordon off the oil with berms, creating a dam-like structure.” Hoses were then used to drain the resulting crude lagoon.

The owner of the pipeline or the specific type of oil it was carrying have not yet been identified.

There were no major injuries reported, but at least two workers at a nearby factory were taken to hospital with “respiratory concerns.” According to local TV, a nearby strip club was also evacuated when oil started leaking inside. (However, the spill blocked access to the club’s parking lot, trapping patrons’ cars.)

Because it started at night, initial pictures of the spill were hard to come by (crude oil on black asphalt in the pitch dark — you get the picture … or, more to the point, you don’t), but there were a few images across the web, herehere and here. As dawn broke, more images filtered in. Photos will be updated, along with this post, as the story develops.

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Any views expressed on The Scrutineer are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America's editorial policy.

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