Oil spill contained

By Richard Greene | Published Thursday, June 9, 2011

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SPRINGING A LEAK - Crude oil leaks out of a tank at the Enterprise Products' gathering station west of Chico Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Several thousand barrels of light crude oil poured from a tank mixer on a 55,000-barrel tank west of Chico Saturday morning, prompting firefighters from several departments to respond and remain on the scene most of the day.

The spill happened at the Enterprise Products gathering station on Private Road 1751 about a quarter of a mile off Farm Road 1810 and about two-and-a-half miles west of Chico.

Wise County Emergency Coordinator and Fire Marshal Marc Dodd said an estimated 17,000 barrels were in the tank when the leak began sending oil flowing into a berm around it.

“The spill is contained within the dike,” Dodd said. “Any hazard would be from the ignition of vapors. But the vapors coming off are not at a level that is dangerous.”

Dodd returned to the site Monday.

“It looked like it was all contained to the dike,” he said. “I walked the creek behind, and it was clear.”

He added that the soil study from Enterprise’s environmental engineer showed that the clay buildup should keep the oil from impacting the water table.

“There shouldn’t be any threat to the community,” Dodd said.

The city of Denton HazMat crew monitored the incident Saturday. Emergency personnel from Chico, Boonsville, Bridgeport and Lake Bridgeport were on site to provide assistance. Due to the heat, Alvord, Decatur and Paradise firefighters were called in to relieve the first units in the afternoon. Personnel remained on site most of the day.

During a routine check, Enterprise workers discovered the leak from the tank mixer shortly after 7 a.m., according to Enterprise spokesperson Rick Rainey.

“They shut down pumping operations at that time,” Rainey said.

Chico and then Boonsville firefighters responded shortly after 10 a.m.

Rainey said the berm the tank sits in is designed to hold 110 percent of the volume of the tank.

“There should be no off-site impact,” he said. “We’ll pump out what we can into other tanks.”

By Monday, Rainey said 95 percent of the recoverable liquid had been captured from the berm. The remaining was to be picked up Tuesday.

“The next step will be to remediate the soil and restore it,” Rainey said.

The leaking tank is now back in service. Rainey said they are still investigating the cause of the mechanical failure.

Dodd praised everyone involved for their work to minimize the risk to the public.

“Everyone did a good job,” he said. “The firefighters did a good job, and the company cooperated.”

PLAN OF ACTION - Wise County Fire Marshal and Emergency Coordinator Marc Dodd talks with firefighters and other emergency personnel about the oil spill at the Enterprise Products' gathering station near Chico Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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