Landslide and Environmental Risk from Oil Spill due to the Rupture of SOTE and OCP Pipelines, San Rafael Falls, Amazon Basin, Ecuador

Paulina Poma, Marco Usca, Maria Fdz-Polanco, Alondra Garcia-Villacres, Theofilos Toulkeridis


A landslide generated an environmental risk due to a provoked oil spill on April 7, 2020, with the SOTE and OCP pipelines rupture. This research aims to determine the areas susceptible to landslides in the river basin Quijos of the Coca River and estimate the environmental risk from exposure to the oil spill. A water analysis of the Coca River was performed by using the Mora-Vahrson method and GIS tools. The subsequent water sampling was probabilistic in a simple random way, and the analyzed parameters were oils and grease, Ba, Cd, Cr, BOD, COD, TPH, OD, Pb, and SST. The results show that 61.17% (572.68 km2) of the total studied area (936.19 km2) is susceptible to landslide hazards. In detail, 0.25% (2.34 km2) of the area is considered to be of very high susceptibility, 26.72% (250.12 km2) of high susceptibility, 11.82% (110.66 km2) of moderate susceptibility, and 0.04 (0.37 km2) of low susceptibility. Four of them were within the permissible limits from the ten analyzed parameters, which correspond to Ba with 0.70 mg/L, OD with 7.4% of saturation, BOD5 with 2 mg/L, and COD with 25 mg/L. The other six parameters, including oils and fats, exhibited a significant increase in concentrations after the oil spill, yielding Cd 0.05 mg/L, total Cr 0.45 mg/L, TPH 0.20 mg/L, Pb 0.20 mg/L, and SST 20%. These results are outside the permissible limits, meaning that the river waters are contaminated.


Oil spill; environmental hazard; GIS; landslide; heavy metals.

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