MS Oil Spill Goes 2 Miles Down Creek

Monday, April 20, 2015 @ 04:04 PM gHale

Cleanup is still underway after a producing oil well breached Thursday morning, spilling an estimated 100 barrels of oil into Oakey Woods Creek in Covington County, MS.

As of Friday, emergency officials cleaned over 50 barrels of the oil from and around the creek.

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“The rain last night actually helped us, it helped move the product that was in log-jams and helped it flow down to the containment areas,” said Collins Fire Chief, John Pope.

Air and water levels are continuing to undergo monitoring around the area, and at this time, no irregularities have been present in the air. Officials sent multiple water samples to the lab for testing, Pope said.

Pope added multiple residents have expressed concerns about water moving down stream and harming cattle, but so far emergency officials have kept it contained to a small area around the scene.

“A good bit of the product is actually a light crude, and it vaporizes off, so 100 barrels actually won’t have to be collected, because there will not be that much left,” said Pope.

Pope credited the work of the City of Collins Fire Department, hazmat crews, pipeline groups as well as state agencies that had oil booms in place very early in the spill, stopping it from spreading further downstream.

Pope said the heavy cleanup operations should be complete by Monday or Wednesday at the latest. Crews, however, will remain for several weeks and continue to monitor the area as well as water and air levels for the community.

Covington County Emergency Management Director Greg Sanford said the leak ended up identified by a worker and resident who smelled the petroleum oil. It is unknown how long the oil spilled from the well, but Sanford estimated it was at least two hours.

“The source (was) shut off, and the threat, I think is going to be minimal from here on out,” Sanford said, who added residents, nor water or wildlife, should not be affected.

The well, operated by Mississippi Resources Limited, sits on the north side of Highway 84, just east of Collins near Hwy. 37. Sanford said the spill flowed approximately two miles down the creek, reaching Leaf River Church Road.

Sanford said the crew saw a broken line coming out of the well, which was the source of the leak.

“I believe it has safeguards on it that prevented it from being a huge disaster,” said Sanford.

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