03/12/2015
Evrona Nature Reserve, Dec. 2015 Photo: Oded Nezer
Evrona Environmental Disaster: One Year Later
Evrona Nature Reserve, Dec. 2015
Photo: Oded Nezer
Exactly one year after an oil spill in Israel’s southern Arava region, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) has released a status report on the rehabilitation efforts. The ministry and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority have been working to rehabilitate the area since a pipeline belonging to the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) burst on Dec. 3, 2014. The breach sent crude oil gushing out, damaging flora and fauna in the area, particularly in the Evrona Nature Reserve.

​A rehabilitation plan that was approved by the government in the wake of the disaster allocated NIS 17 million, plus additional manpower, for the treatment of contaminated soil and rehabilitation of animals populations that were harmed in the oil spill.

To date:

  1. 55,000 tons of contaminated soil have been removed.
  2. Five technology companies conducted rehabilitation activities, with four of them showing a significant decrease in the concentration of pollutants.
  3. Sampling and monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds, dust, and odors find much-improved air quality in affected areas.
  4. An improvement has been noted in the deer population, with young deer being spotted in the area.
  5. Land surveys show that the contamination has spread to different depths in different areas, reaching 22 meters in the center of the spill.
  6. The summer heat "dried up" the top layer of contaminated soil and created a layer of rigid soil and oil.
  7. Acacia trees and shrubs that were in the path of the oil still show signs of severe damaged

 

The MoEP has demanded that the EAPC conduct a preliminary ecological survey in Evrona, which will be used a a basis for a long-term monitoring program being planned for the reserve. In addition, the company has been ordered to do a risk assessment and to prepare a plan for reducing immediate risks and preventing future oil spills. The MoEP conducts periodic air monitoring every few months.

Rehabilitation activities in the Evrona Nature Reserve, which reopened in spring 2015, are being funded by the EAPC and are expected to continue for years to come. Meantime, a criminal investigation into EAPC is continuing.

The MoEP has estimated that the total cost of the damage to ecosystems as a result of the spill is NIS 141 million.