EPA responds to Coffeyville refinery spill

Major flooding caused an oil spill from Coffeyville Resources LLC's refinery at Coffeyville, Kan.

Jul 3rd, 2007

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 3 -- Major flooding caused an oil spill from Coffeyville Resources LLC's refinery and fertilizer plant at Coffeyville, Kan. The oil spilled into the Verdigris River, flooded from several days of heavy rainfall. The 100,000 b/cd Coffeyville refinery was under 4-6 ft of water, emergency officials said July 3.

The US Environmental Protection Agency sent coordinators to Coffeyville for pollution assessments, the EPA Region 7 office in Kansas City, Kan., reported.

The refinery was shut on June 30, and flood waters breached a Coffeyville levee on July 1. The flooding caused an oil spill from storage tanks. The spill was isolated and stopped, a refinery spokesman said.

No estimate is currently available for when refinery operations can resume, Coffeyville Resources management said, adding they had entered the refinery complex by boat for a preliminary assessment.

They said July 3 they also are monitoring the refinery by air because flood waters have yet to recede significantly.

"A tank system containing crude oil overflowed during the early hours of the flood, and subsequent record levels of flood waters have swept the oil from containment areas within the refinery," a refinery news release said. "No estimate was immediately available as to the amount of crude oil lost as access to tank gauges has been restricted by high water."

The company also reported a "small ammonia release" but said there was no threat to the immediate community. The nitrogen fertilizer plant is at higher elevation than the refinery, but it also remained closed.

The Verdigris River flows into Oologah Lake, a water source for Tulsa. Officials believe the oil will dissipate before it ever reaches the lake, said a spokesman for the Tulsa District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Tulsa water plant operators along the Verdigris and the Oologah Lake reported no sign of the oil spill on July 2.

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