Migration of Spilled Oil from Ruptured Underground Crude Oil Pipelines in the Memphis Area

by Otto J. Helweg, Memphis State Univ, Memphis, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Lifeline Earthquake Engineering in the Central and Eastern U.S.


This study evaluated the impact of an oil pipeline rupture in the recharge area of a West Tennessee aquifer. Two potential break locations were chosen in the alluvial valley of a main river where the probability of a rupture is greatest. The volume and fate of the hydrocarbons were modeled, using MOFAT and ARMOS (two finite element models) and remediation strategies proposed. The results showed a vast volume of oil (2260 m3) would be released in the event of a rupture, but the migration through the porous media would be slow, covering an area of about 50,000 m2 after 60 days. This would give adequate time for remediation measures; however, the amount of BTEX's that would dissolve in the water could reach 276 Kg after 60 days, requiring a significant amount of ground water be treated.

Subject Headings: Oil pipelines | Hazardous materials spills | Finite element method | Groundwater pollution | Porous media | Pipe materials | Mathematical models | Tennessee | United States

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