Officials clean up after oil spill in Lamar County, check

Published 12:26 am Sunday, February 25, 2007

Officials clean up after oil spill in Lamar County, check

PURVIS (AP) — Emergency management officials continued Friday to clean up and test the environmental impacts of an oil spill in a waterway in southwestern Lamar County.

Emergency Management Director James Smith said a pipeline crossing a small stream ruptured overnight Tuesday. He said officials believe between 400 to 450 barrels, or about 20,000 gallons, of oil were released into the stream.

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The waterway eventually flows into the Clear Creek, which joins the Pearl River in Marion County just north of the Mississippi-Louisiana state line.

Smith said environmental crews set up a perimeter at least a mile downstream from the spill to collect the oil. Officials said Thursday that about 75 percent of the creek had been cleaned up by noon that day.

The pipeline is owned by the Ridgeland-based Tellus Operating Group. The company is working with environmental officials to clean up the site, Smith said.

Nearly 50 people are working to remove oil using rubberized dams and earthen dams. Oil is being collected with vacuum trucks.

Tests are being conducted Friday to determine the spill’s impact on wildlife.

Eric Dear, chief of emergency services for MDEQ, said initial analyses indicated the spill would not seriously impact the nearby environment. Also it seemed no endangered species were threatened, he said. Teams from MDEQ and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services plan to conduct more studies to determine the spill’s effect on wildlife.