Pollution Response in Katrina's Wake

Monday, September 12, 2005
The Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Louisiana are working together with local industries to recover spilled oil and mitigate further environmental damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Federal On Scene Coordinator has established a forward operating base in Baton Rouge, La., to coordinate the pollution response efforts.

The following industries are responding to product release in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

The Murphy Oil Corporation, near Chalmette, estimated 16,000 barrels of oil have been discharged, with the vast majority contained within the existing secondary containment unit located on refinery property. Oil recovery operations are currently on going. During the hurricane, an unknown quantity of oil escaped the secondary containment and affected the surrounding neighborhoods. The EPA and Coast Guard are working together to oversee the ongoing oil recovery operations.

As of Friday, 1,645 barrels were recovered using twelve vacuum trucks and ten drum skimmers. There are plans for 24-hour operations with two high-volume pumps.

Shell Pipeline Company LP has confirmed that damage from Hurricane Katrina resulted in two crude oil spills from company-owned assets in southern Louisiana. In the first incident, crude oil was found leaking from an above-ground storage tank and into a tank dike and surrounding area at the company tank farm in Pilottown. The incident was caused by apparent wind damage. Of the approximately 10,000 barrels estimated to have been leaked in Pilottown, more than 6,200 barrels have been recovered to date. About 2,800 feet of absorbent boom has been deployed and 2,000 feet of eight-inch hard boom has been deployed. Workers also placed 600 feet of 10-inch hard boom in the affected area. No further pollution is expected as the water/oil mixture within the secondary containment unit has been pumped to a level below the break in the containment unit.

In the second incident, crude oil was found leaking from a 20-inch pipeline in Nairn. Damage to the pipeline resulted from a breach in a hurricane protection levee. The release was estimated at 250 barrels. There is no further potential for loss of oil as the pipeline has been secured. Pollution response equipment and responders are on scene and are cleaning up the remaining spilled oil.

Bass Enterprises reported approximately 81,000 barrels of oil from two storage tanks were discharged into the secondary containment system surrounding the tanks. Preliminary tests indicate substantially all of the oil is contained within the secondary containment levee and approximately 7,500 barrels are still in the tanks. Pollution response equipment and responders are on scene and are transferring the oil in the containment system to a barge and have deployed boom to contain a visible sheen on the river. No sheen is visible beyond the booms.

The Chevron Empire Facility reported 23,000 barrels of oil were discharged into the containment and are being pumped out. The majority of the oil is contained at the facility. Pollution response equipment and responders are on scene.

The Chevron Pipeline Company reported an estimated 200 barrels of oil was discharged into West Bay, near Venice, La. Approximately 100 barrels of oil has already evaporated, and approximately 100 barrels of oily water mixture has been recovered.

Venice Energy Services Company reported an unknown amount of oil discharged in Tante Phine Pass near Venice, La. The oil is contained within the facility's secondary containment. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Coast Guard are working together to oversee recovery operations. Pollution response equipment and responders are on scene.

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