Frozen Pump Causes Oil Spill In Jay

Jan 10, 2014


Cleanup is continuing at a gas plant in Jay, after crude oil spilled from a holding pond early Thursday.

Three barrels of an oil and water mixture, 126 gallons, were released from the Quantum Resources Management facility. Some of it went into a nearby creek, and then into the Escambia River. 

Brandy Smith at the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Pensacola office says responders got the call around 6:30 Thursday morning.

“Our emergency response officer was at the scene [Thursday],” said Smith. “They used absorbent booms to corral and block the oil from going downstream, and to absorb it and collect it from the water.”

The overflow was caused by a pump that froze up in this week’s cold weather. Besides DEP, response came from the Escambia County Emergency Management and Health Departments, and state Fish and Wildlife. reported Thursday that the area around Fischer Landing in Century had a strong smell similar to diesel fuel, and that mats of what appeared to be oil were floating down river. Some of those mats were said to be 10 by 20 feet or larger.

A number of contractors, including SWS Environmental Services. are working on sopping up the crude. And after the cleanup is finished, Smith says the investigations will commence.

Josh Wannarka at Quantam’s home office in Houston, Texas, provided a prepared statement from the company,  “At Quantum, protection of the environment is important to us.  The recent unprecedented cold snap damaged some of our equipment at the Jay Plant, which led to a release of approximately 3 barrels of oil.  The release was discovered around 3:30 (Thursday) morning.  Immediately upon discovery of this situation, we activated our response plan and responded with all available means to contain and recover this oil.  The source of the release is now under control. Recovery efforts continue at this time in coordination with local and state agencies.  We do not believe this situation presents a threat to the public or the environment.”

Escambia County Health officials also say the oil spill poses no health danger to the public, and there’s no danger from fish caught in the river.