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Houston Chronicle: Berwick residents evacuated after leak

© 2008 The Associated Press
Jan. 17, 2008, 7:14PM

BERWICK, La. — Residents from 79 homes were allowed to return Thursday, a day after a pipeline at a pumping station leaked, spilling oil into a ditch system designed to contain spills.

The leak was discovered after mobile home park residents complained of a strong odor shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday, Police Chief James Richard said.

The leak occured near a pumping station along Shell Pipeline Co.’s line between Houma and Houston, said Shell spokesman Mike Smith. The leak was stopped by shutting down the pipeline, he said.

Smith said about 265 barrels of oil leaked out. The line will remain closed indefinitely until officials determine the exact point of the leak and fix it, Smith said.

As a precaution, people living in 79 homes were moved by Shell to area hotels, or either went to the homes of family and friends, Smith said. They were allowed to return to their homes Thursday evening.

The oil leaked into a ditch system designed for such accidents, Smith said. Shell vacummed the spill Thursday and replaced soil in the area, he said. There was no indication of environmental damage, he said.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5465039.html

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