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Receding waters reveal nightmare of ‘streets covered in inches of muck’

Lloyds List: Receding waters reveal nightmare of ‘streets covered in inches of muck’

“Other incidents included the loss of 10,000 barrels from Shell’s storage tank to the surrounding tank farm, and a 250 barrel leak from a Shell pipeline in Nairn. The tank farm leak was being contained with absorbent booms and the pipeline had been repaired, the coast guard said.”

Tuesday 13 Sept 2005

THE receding water of Hurricane Katrina is revealing a new nightmare leaked oil, some of which appears to be in the streets of populated neighbourhoods, writes Rajesh Joshi in New York.

The US Coast Guard, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Louisiana state officials are recovering spilt oil. At least eight incidents have so far been identified, including several where the leaks were said to have ended up in ‘secondary containment’.

An unquantified portion of the leak of 16,000 barrels from a storage tank at Murphy Oil’s refinery in Chalmette was said to have seeped into residential neighbourhoods on the southeastern outskirts of New Orleans.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that its reporters who drove through the area saw ‘block after block of homes within a mile of the refinery inundated with what appears to be a mixture of oil and mud ‘ streets and much of the ground are covered in several inches of oozing muck’.

The newspaper raised the spectre that ‘4,000 homes will have to be razed and 2-3 ft of soil removed before the area could be inhabited again’.

The coast guard did not have a comment on these claims. However, a spokesman directed Lloyd’s List to the official statement that authorities are ‘working together with local industries to recover spilled oil and mitigate further environmental damage’.

The coast guard said 1,645 barrels of the Murphy Oil leak had been recovered with vacuum trucks and drum skimmers.

Other incidents included the loss of 10,000 barrels from Shell’s storage tank to the surrounding tank farm, and a 250 barrel leak from a Shell pipeline in Nairn. The tank farm leak was being contained with absorbent booms and the pipeline had been repaired, the coast guard said.

A Chevron pipeline near Venice Bay released 200 barrels into West Bay, of which half evaporated and half was recovered, the coast guard said.

Most other incidents, including an 81,000- barrel Bass Enterprises leak, appeared to involve leaks contained within secondary barriers.

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