1. the soil structure and decreasing water holding capacity.

Issues and background

Oil pipe leakage in Iraq

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In 2006, in Iraq of pollution with crude oil have
the total amount of oil spilled is 565,149 m³ and the quantities of liquid and
dry gas leaked were 3560 tons as a result of 113 sabotage accidents of the
pipeline in 7 provinces. Most of the incidents were in Baghdad, Kirkuk,
Salahuddin, and Basra. On the other hand, fire accidents are continual in an
average of 20 days during 2006 and mostly in January, August and
September.  The contaminated soil with crude
oil looks like black film or oil droplets splashing from the pipes that have
been blown up. The percentages of hydrocarbon compounds in soil samples in
light polluted soil were 0.02-0.08% and 0.49-13.2% in highly polluted soils.
These percentages decreased with the depth of soil (Ghazi, M.M. and Aqeel, R.L., 2014)


Impact due to pipe leakage

Soil fertility


The toxicity of the
hydrocarbon components that can affect the soil properties and plant growth can
be identified as follows:


i. Lack of oxygen
in soil caused by high concentrations of hydrocarbon gases and carbon dioxide
that will affect biological processes of plant roots and microorganisms. This
will result in the infertile soil.


ii. The heavy
hydrocarbon blocks soil pores and consequently decreasing the permeability or
porosity and water movement, and increase the difficulty of plant’s roots
penetration. The plant can’t grow in this particular polluted soil.


iii. Spoilt the
soil structure and decreasing water holding capacity. Thus the soil dry and are
not suitable for living organism. Lack of water will result to die as water are
an important component in all living organism.


iv. The nutrients
that should be used by plants due to element competition and pH variation will
be depleted. In Iraq, an experimental study was conducted on plates of clay
soil that contaminated with kerosene and gas oil (5% contamination), refer
Al-Azaawi (Al-Azaawi, D. F. 2000). The results showed that these two materials
have adversely affected the production of yellow corn. In the experiment, it
was found that the increase of the production is related to the decomposition
rate of the oil products, and the decreasing of the infiltration rate to the
decreasing of the pollution concentration. Meanwhile, there was no variation in
the pH and electrical conductivity of polluted soils. (Al-Khafaji, A.A., Askar,
S.R., and Kasal, S.M., 1986; Ellis, R., and Adams, R.S., 1961). Thus proving
that this problem will give some impact in the future by decrease the soil


Water source

The hazardous character of oil mostly due to its
toxicity and compounds that do not degrade or chemically breaks up easily. Some
of them are circling into the food chain and accumulates in living organisms
while others are very complicated and not easily transmitted and have low
toxicity. However, the presence of oil on the surface affects the seed
germination rate and water absorption by the plant.  There are a big number of chemical compounds
used in the petroleum industry such as the additives in the drilling process,
oil refining and which is used in the removal of fat and deadly lichens, fungi
and so on. Their movement direction must be traced because most of the compound
have harmful effects and negative impact on the environment, especially on
agricultural production. Crude oil and the associated materials contain large
amounts of salt, such as sodium chloride and calcium chloride together with the
materials that are added during drilling operations. These salts can
contaminate the soil during leakage or spillage.  The clay waste resulting from drilling
operations can also pollute the environment as it contains heavy metals. These
metals are not easily decomposed by nature and can transport to long distance
by water. Most of these heavy metals are harmful to humans through drinking
water or food, and their effect can be a cumulative and toxic (Al-Khafaji, A.A,
1994; Al-Omar, M.A., 2001; Kiely, G., 1996).


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