LIMA – An organization comprising Peruvian Amazon communities plans to file a complaint against state-owned oil company Petroperu over a crude spill caused by a pipeline leak, the group’s president told EFE on Thursday.
The Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Northern Amazon of Peru, or ORPIAN -P, will file the complaint with the Agency for Environmental Assessment and Enforcement, or OEFA, alleging a lack of maintenance work on the North Peruvian Pipeline and failure to respond in a timely manner to the leak.
The spill occurred on Jan. 25 at a spot some three kilometers (1.86 miles) from the Chiriaco River in Villa Hermosa, a municipality in the southern Peruvian region of Amazonas.
ORPIAN -P’s president, Edwin Montenegro, toured the area with other members of his organization and said some 2,000 barrels of crude had leaked.
The delegation found crude over a four-kilometer (2.5-mile) stretch of the Inayo stream, which empties into the Chiriaco, and discovered numerous dead fish floating on the surface of the water.
“Tremendous damage was done because water from the Inayo is used for farming and there’s a risk of the spill spreading further if it rains in the area,” Montenegro told EFE.
Petroperu repaired the pipeline on Jan. 28, three days after the leak occurred, the OEFA said in a statement on Tuesday.
That agency said the spill damaged nearby cacao crops and extended along a 3.5-kilometer (2.1-mile) section of the Inayo, contaminating both banks of that waterway.
OEFA inspectors said some 200 barrels of crude and 400 sacks filled with oil-covered foliage and vegetation had been collected as of Tuesday.
Petroperu reported the incident on Jan. 27, saying “the hydrocarbon has not affected any river or waterway in the area, being totally contained.”
The company said the leak had been triggered by ground displacement, noting that the terrain in that humid area is steep and the soil is prone to saturation by rainwater.