Water service was suspended for more than 77,000 people on Monday April 13th, after it was discovered that holding tanks at a water treatment plant had been contaminated by an oil spill originating from a Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) oil line from the “Agave 32” petrochemical complex on the outskirts of the municipalities of Jalapa and Teapa.
The spill was detected after citizens of Río Teapa complained of a foul petrolium smell along the Villahermosa–Jalapa highway, near the Pemex complex.
The spill affected farms and pastures in a 60 kilometer perimeter around the spot of the spill, extending across the communities of Puyacatengo Norte, Emiliano Zapata, and Huasteca. The Teapa river, which flows through three municipalities, was also contaminated.
The spill sent workers with the state-owned oil company scrambling to limit damage, and four of Villahermosa’s water treatment plants were shut down as a precaution.
The Tabasco state government said Tuesday that it will temporarily supply water using 13 tanker trucks.
Pemex workers set out containment booms and were trying to scoop oil off the waterways.
Illegal pipeline taps have caused fires, explosions and spills in Mexico in the past. They became so frequent that Pemex no longer ships finished, usable fuels through pipelines.
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