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OR&R Provides Scientific Support for Oil Spill Response Efforts in Ecuador

JUNE 22, 2020 — OR&R provided scientific support through the U.S. National Response Team (NRT) in response to the Ecuador pipeline spill that occurred in early April.

Muddy hillside next to a river with construction shipment.
Aftermath of landslide in Ecuador. Image credit: EP Petroecuador.

This was a major release of crude oil and gasoline into the Quepos, Coca, and Napo rivers in Ecuador after three underground pipelines ruptured, following a riverbed collapse and landslide. The spill has impacted several hundred miles of river. 

The NRT is providing support to the Ecuadorian government at the request of the U.S. State Department. The NRT stood up a working group and asked NOAA and other federal member agencies to contribute expertise. Other participating agencies include the U.S Department of Interior (United States Geological Survey), the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

NOAA ‘s Office of Response and Restoration provided information on assessment and cleanup techniques as well as information on oil fate and behavior. The NRT established a Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) site for sharing of information with the U.S. State Department and the EP Petroecuador, the national oil company of Ecuador.

The disaster occurred in a very remote area and has presented significant challenges regarding cleanup operations. EP Petroecuador hired several international oil spill cleanup companies and is actively engaged in shoreline cleanup operations.  Two local indigenous populations are located within the affected area. Many in the area rely on the rivers for their water supply, transportation, and subsistence fishing. 

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Last updated Monday, June 29, 2020 8:11am PDT