A pipe that froze and then burst could be the cause of an oil spill near West Union in West Virginia Thursday, state officials said.
A call reporting the spill came into the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at 2 p.m. Thursday. Inspectors from the DEP arrived at the scene just after 3:30 p.m. and discovered 20 to 25 barrels of oil leaked from a well into an unnamed tributary and later flowed into Tom’s Fork Creek, said DEP Spokesman Tom Aluise.
Ryan Environmental is working with the DEP to contain the oil, which between 800 to 1,000 gallons. The oil came from a private well owned by Sam Farrow, an Alabama resident.
The DEP is working with Farrow, who could face citations for the spill, said Aluise. Preliminary reports indicate a pipe on the well may have frozen and then burst, resulting in the spill.
Crews from the DEP and Ryan Environmental worked through the weekend at the scene, placing absorbent boons in the waterway and using vacuum trucks to remove the crude oil from the creek.
Aluise said Monday that most of the oil ended up removed and booms will remain in the water to collect any residual oil. Soil at the well site also suffered damage and Ryan Environmental, with DEP supervision, will remove the soil from the site, re-seed, mulch, and dispose of the soil at an approved landfill.
Aluise said spill is about 10 miles upstream from West Union, which is the location of the nearest public water intake. Because the oil didn’t reach Meathouse Fork, public water is not in danger of contamination. The well owner will be responsible for the cost of clean up, Aluise said.