Company responding well to clean oil spill, DEQ says

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cleanup efforts are proceeding well on a Brookhaven Oil Fieldspill, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality officialssaid today.

A 1-inch fiberglass feeder line transporting raw crude oil to astorage tank for cleaning ruptured Monday morning, said ErnieShirley, an environmental scientist with DEQ. The line is owned byDenbury Resources Inc., whose employees discovered the leak whilethey were walking the line.

Approximately 100 gallons of oil leaked from the pipe and seepedinto a nearby stream, which carried it to the Bogue Chitto River,Shirley said.

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Denbury officials would not comment this morning.

Shirley complimented the oil company on its quick response.

“They did fine,” he said. “They hired a company to help themmanage it and brought in more help. They had an emergency plan andput it into play. We’re happy with the situation right now. They’redoing what they’re supposed to do.”

Four collection points were immediately established downriver,Shirley said, and DEQ estimates indicate approximately 80 percentof the oil has been collected in the past two days.

“We feel like they have good containment and there won’t be anypermanent damage,” he said.

Cleanup crews will enter the river on boats today to beginbreaking up log jams to free any trapped oil, Shirley said. Theriver is carrying the oil straight to the collection points.

DEQ officials estimate that 99 percent of the oil will have beencollected within “the next day or so.”

There was some concern that rainfall Tuesday night might hinderthe cleanup efforts but it has not appeared to have done so,Shirley said.

The collection points will remain on the river about four tofive more weeks to collect any other contaminants.