UPDATE: Covington County oil spill stretches two miles down creek

UPDATE: Covington County oil spill stretches two miles down creek
Cleanup is underway after an oil well breached in Covington County.
Oil in a creek near Covington County after an early morning spill.
Oil in a creek near Covington County after an early morning spill.

COVINGTON COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - 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.

As of Friday afternoon, emergency officials have cleaned up more than 50 barrels of the oil from and around the creek.

"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.

According to Pope, air and water levels are continuing to be monitored around the area, and at this time, no irregularities have been present in the air, however multiple water samples have been sent to the lab for testing.

Pope added that 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 wont 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 who had oil booms in place very early in the spill, stopping it from spreading further downstream.

Pope estimates the heavy cleanup operations should be complete by Monday, if not Wednesday at the latest, however crews 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 was noticed by both 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 is shut off, and the threat, I think is going to be minimal from here on out," explained Sanford, who also said residents, nor water or wildlife, should not be affected.

The well, which is 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.

"We have deployed booms," he explained. "We got the booms out here as early as we could."

Sanford said two booms were placed at the creek on the north side of Hwy. 84, and one was placed at Leaf River Church Road.

Sanford said the crew saw a broken line coming out of the well, which was the source of the leak. The well has been shut off, and the spill is under control.

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

Sanford said he does not anticipate damage to the Leaf River, as the spill  is stopped where the creek goes under Leaf River Church Road.

He said the well is not manned 24 hours, but he believed it is checked daily.

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