EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Edmond firefighters were called to Kelly and Covell Wednesday afternoon after several reports claiming a white vapor-like cloud filled the air.
“We first heard the hissing noise and saw the oil, if you stepped outside, you could smell it,” said Dr. Lucas White with the Sunset Veterinary Clinic.
Dr. White said he looked at the window of the clinic to see an alarming amount of smoke coming from an oil well next door.
“Was there going to be some type of fire or explosion or damage to the building? It was our main concern whether we needed to evacuate or stay in place,” explained Dr. White.
Edmond Police issued a stay in shelter notice to residents in the area for fear of the vapor becoming a health hazard.
Dr. White said he, along with other Sunset employees were concerned about the danger they could face by remaining inside the clinic, so everyone eventually took off and headed northbound to safety.
Edmond Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief, Chris Denton said once they were notified of the smoke and arrived on scene, they were able to confirm there was a mixture of crude oil and salt water spewing out of the well.
The oil company who owns the well, McCann Energy told KFOR the well’s gasket failed and caused the leak.
Once McCann Energy was made aware of the situation, they sent a representative to assess what was happening.
McCann Energy Owner, Mark McCann said within 45 minutes of them knowing about the leak, the well was sealed off and the leak was no more.
Before the well could be sealed though, McCann said a barrel of oil had been released.
News 4 asked McCann if this particular well has leaked before to which he said no.
However, Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports show this same well leaked back in September of 2015.
A half-a-barrel spilled during the 2015 incident.
Corporation Commission Public Information Manager, Matt Skinner said McCann Energy also owns another well near Kelly and Covell that leaked 10 to 20 barrels of oil in 2012.
One barrel contains 42 gallons of oil.
That spill leaked into a private neighborhood pond.
“If I remember right, a valve was left open on the oil well up there and the oil ran down Kelly Avenue into the storm drainage at the bottom of the hill, which then that storm drainage dumps right into the creek, which dumps into our pond,” said nearby resident, Beth Menasco.
Menasco recalled the Oklahoma Environmental Protection Agency investigating as well as the OCC.
“The pond had a duck population that has been affected by the spill. City of Edmond Animal Welfare Dept. deemed them okay at this time. Remediation started by Enviroclean on the pond,” an OCC report from the 2012 spill read.
The spill happened August 27, 2012 and a cleanup date of September 12 was scheduled.
“Inspection at that time showed work still underway, and more samples had to be taken, which take time to get back from the lab. Then we had to wait for [the] pond to get back to proper levels for more sampling. We also wanted to be sure [the] landowner was satisfied. Bottom line, we didn’t call the complaint resolved until June 17, 2013,” stated Skinner.
Menasco said the pond was silent during the year that followed.
Skinner told KFOR the Corporation Commission didn’t cite McCann Energy for either spill because it was cleaned up in a timely manner.
When Menasco heard about Wednesday’s incident, she thought, “Oh, no, not again.”
“My daughter was home when that was going on, so she did lock all the dogs in the house. And the neighbors were concerned because the smell. We have horses down here, things like that, that might be affected. But it was mostly the people north of us that were affected,” added Menasco.
The OCC is currently investigating Wednesday’s incident.
News 4 asked about the well having a containment berm since there is a nearby pond and creek.
Skinner said the containment requirement applies only to storage, not wells.
The OCC will be checking the condition of the containment around the storage tanks though, according to Skinner.
McCann said representatives will be out Thursday to clean up.
News 4 saw two representatives Thursday morning laying peat moss around the well in an effort to soak up the remaining oil.
As for the nearby businesses, they were still covered in oil residue Thursday afternoon.
Dr. White said most of the vehicles in the parking lot were also covered in oil residue.
He’s hoping it’ll wash away with Thursday’s rain.
Moving forward, another leak happening is a worry in the back of Dr. White’s mind.
Meanwhile, Menasco said she’s not concerned living so close to an oil well.
“You can’t get away from [oil wells]. You know, we have to have a strong economy. We have to have the oil and gas. It’s just part of the territory,” said Menasco. “I’ve been here for 20 years and it’s been great. No problems, really.”