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Landslide Causes Oil Spill into Ecuador's lower Quijos River

Landslide Causes Oil Spill into Ecuador's lower Quijos River

Rafters and kayakers enjoying Ecuador's Quijos River upstream of the oil spill.

The Quijos River's San Rafael Falls.

"The oil spill was well downstream of the lodge, but lots of oil got into the Quijos, sadly,"

While a large landslide in Ecuador has spilled crude into the popular Quijos River, it hit the river downstream of most of the best kayak and rafting runs...

According to reports, an estimated 420,000 of crude spilled after a rain-casude landslide ripped up a 100-yard stretch of the Trans-Ecuador pipeline near the Reventador volcano. Officials don't know how much reached the Quijos.

"The oil spill was well downstream of the lodge, but lots of oil got into the Quijos, sadly," says Darcy Gaechter, a former guide for Small World Adventures, a kayak lodge on the banks of the Quijos. " It hit the river downstream of most of the kayaking runs on the Quijos, but it will affect two great but remote and seldom done runs."

"It's pretty messy," she adds. "Peru reports that they have oil from the spill in their country now as well, via he Napo river. I imagine that if it was enough oil to make it that far, the actual site of the spill at the Quijos must be a total disaster."

Ecuasdor's state oil company resumed pumping through the country's main pipeline four days after it was damaged by the landslide. The spill is reported to have polluted drinking water for the regional capital of Coca far downstream. According to Associated Press, closure of the pipeline also forced PetroEcuador to accelerate three 360,000-barrel shipments bound for China.

But so far the good news for paddlers is that it didn't affect any of the popular paddling runs of the Quijos or its tributaries, such as the Oyacachi.
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