Negev gas leak
Nahal Tzin gas leak. Photo by Tzahi Olainik
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A large amount of gas leaked into the Nahal Tzin Nature Preserve in the Negev after a major Eilat pipeline burst on Wednesday. The leak caused major damage to the southern Israel nature preserve’s wildlife.

The pipe burst when the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) was performing maintenance work in the Tzin Valley. While EAPAC was working in the nature preserve, a pipeline collapsed, resulting in the leakage of a large amount of crude oil into Nahal Tzin.

The leak may have caused damage to the nature preserve’s water sources.

Eli Amitai, the director-general of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, has called on all available teams from the authority to arrive on the scene of the leak as soon as possible.

They have already successfully prevented the further spread of the oil-leak and efforts are currently underway to clean up the preserve.

The area surrounding the Nahal Tzin Nature Preserve has been closed off to hikers.

EAPC issued a response to the leak Wednesday, saying that the pipeline collapse took place after an external contractor left the south Israel site where maintenance was taking place and under the direction of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority began digging a few hundred meters away. The pipeline that was hit by the digging was inactive and contained kerosene.

“The company proceeding according to standard protocol and used emergency measures to isolate the breach of the pipeline and stop the leak. EAPC is currently pumping gas and will soon take steps to fix and restore the area to its previous state, in full cooperation with the Environmental Protection Ministry and other relevant bodies,” the statement said.