Oil spill in Pike County leaks into Big Sandy River

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Crews hope they have stopped an oil spill before it caused too much damage.

MGN Online

PIKE/FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Crews hope they have stopped an oil spill before it caused too much damage. Officials with Kinzer Drilling say workers with a local coal company at Harmon's Branch in Pike County, spotted oil in the creek Thursday morning.

Thanks to the quick response from several agencies, officials say the spill is contained and not impacting any water systems.

Kinzer Drilling officials say the the oil got into the creek after a small landslide damaged one of their storage tanks; leaking 75 barrels of crude oil, which is about 3,200 gallons into the water.

General Manager Doug Hyden says, "We started daming the creek to contain the fluids. So far we've pretty much contained the oil in areas, very little has got into the river itself."

The cleanup started with the drilling company, Pike County Emergency Management, Pikeville Public Safety, and state environmental officials. However, as oil did make its way into the Big Sandy River...the efforts intensified.

Pike County Emergency Management Director, Doug Tackett says, "Floyd County Emergency Management became involved. Prestonsburg Fire Department is here, Floyd County Rescue Squad, the drilling company's spill response team, a response team from Cattlesburg brought in some equipment we needed. Just a lot of agencies coming together to get this thing under control."

The crews worked all day to skim and set up booms to catch the oil.

Just before the Allen area, crews set up their final boom system. This area is before the oil would reach the intakes for water systems.

Paul Maynard says, "We are using it mostly to catch what is left over because we have several systems in place not only in Pike but also as you get into Floyd County. So that is where most of it is catching and we are already skimming it off, getting it into trucks, and out of here."

Thankfully officials say no water systems are impacted at this point, and the booms will stay in place for a few days.

Officials say the cleanup process will continue for a few days as they work to see if there is any environmental impact on the river.

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