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Local News in Brief : Exterior Corrosion Blamed in Oil Leak

A rupture in a “relatively new” underground pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of crude oil onto Encino streets and into the Los Angeles River was caused by exterior corrosion, the Mobil Oil Co. reported Wednesday.

More than 90,000 gallons of oil leaked through a 4-inch rupture in a Mobil pipeline Saturday and seeped to the surface at Ventura Boulevard and Woodley Avenue in Encino. Cleanup of the spill continued Wednesday in Encino and along the river as far away as Long Beach.

Mobil spokesman James A. Carbonetti said the cause of the rupture was “isolated corrosion . . . probably due to interference from other pipes in the ground,” specifically a 30-inch-wide water main and a smaller pipe containing an electrical trunk line. The oil pumped through the Mobil pipe is hot, he said, and the combination of heat, electric current, ground moisture and the metal of the pipes may have caused “electrolysis” or weakening of the oil pipeline.

City Councilman Marvin Braude on Wednesday asked the city’s Department of Transportation to investigate the spill.

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