LA Pipeline Cleanup at 2,550 Barrels

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 @ 04:10 PM gHale

Contractors cleaned another 650 barrels of crude oil that spilled from a broken pipeline near Mooringsport, LA, Monday, bringing the recovery so far to about 2,550 barrels.

Pipeline owner Sunoco Logistics put the total loss at about 4,000 barrels before they were able to shut down the line. The estimate comes from how much was flowing through it and the topography in the area. The company has yet to calculate the exact loss.

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Oil drained into Tete Bayou off Old Mooringsport LaTex Road and state Highway 169 but did not reach Caddo Lake. “And it’s still not in the lake,” said Jeff Shields, Sunoco’s communications director.

Contract workers totaling 270 are cleaning up the spill by employing various means to skim and vacuum it from the water and soil. Five collection points ended up established along Tete Bayou after workers built access roads in cooperation with the adjoining landowners.

Two families voluntarily left their homes after the spill. Louisiana State Police on Sunday gave the green light to those who wanted to return home; however, only one did briefly on Monday. She has since gone back to the hotel where Sunoco is paying her expenses, which the company is doing for the other family as well, Shields said.

The odor emanating from the spilled oil is still a factor in the impact area but it is lessening. Air monitoring devices are keeping a check on the levels.

The number of dead wildlife climbed since Saturday to 139, which includes primarily fish, amphibians, reptiles and crawfish.

Though the cleanup is still in the “emergency phase,” Sunoco is turning its attention to repairing the damage pipeline. The affected Mid-Valley Pipeline segment, stretching from Longview, TX to Mayersville, MS, remains shut down. It’s part of a 1,000-mile line that feeds major refineries in Ohio and Michigan.

Once the failed pipe section ends up replaced, Sunoco plans to return it to service. No timeline is set, however, but when it is operational again the maximum pressure will end up reduced by 20 percent until any issue discovered in the investigation ends up addressed, Shields said.

But that will only happen after the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which regulates pipelines, gives its approval. PHMSA is investigating what caused the leak. State and federal regulatory agencies will remain on the scene.

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