KREMLIN, Okla. (KFOR) – An oil spill north of Enid continues, after hundreds of barrels of oils are estimated to have contaminated about three miles of Ninemile Creek in Garfield County, between Hillsdale and Kremlin.
While officials originally estimated the spill to be about 500 barrels with about 70 recovered by late Friday evening, in an interview Monday with KFOR, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said the spill is twice as large as originally thought.
“The estimate on the size of the spill is now 1000 barrels or close to 1000 barrels,” said Matt Skinner, OCC, Public Information Officer.
“There are vacuum trucks in several places along the three mile stretch of NineMile creek that has been hit with this spill,” he added, saying it’s too early to tell how long cleanup will take.
While Skinner said about 500 barrels were recovered as of Monday afternoon, he said due to weather and other factors, the department’s investigation into the spill itself, including what exactly caused it and who is at fault, will have to wait until after the cleanup is complete.
However, the OCC maintains that the thousand barrell spill was not made up of pure crude oil, which often contains hundred of chemical and other organic and inorganic substances, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but a sediment mixture from the drilling mud disposal at Nemaha Environmental Services.
“(Nemaha) storage became flooded with rain water and the oil dike around it was either compromised or simply overfowed. We’re still unsure at this point,” Skinner said, adding that vegetation is being removed from the area and bagged for disposal to a landfill that’s licensed to take anything that’s been contaminated.
However, farmers told the station the oil mixture could also be a problem for the environmental, livestock and wildlife contained in the area.
“It has happened before, but not of this magnitude,” said Newt Roberts in an interview Friday with KFOR.
Roberts said the contamination appears to run about four feet up, along the creek banks.
“The wildlife department’s been here. They’ve gathered up fish that’s killed in the in the creek,” he added.
“You don’t know what’s in it until officials take some samples,” he continued, adding he’s concerned the runoff will eventually get into Keystone Lake.
“Where our cattle drink is just nothing but oil on top,” added Dale Hayes, citing concerns over contamination with the water source for his livestock.
KFOR has placed several calls to the company believed to be responsible for the spill, Nemaha Environmental Services; however, they have not been returned.