TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Saturday, a Tyler County land owner smelled oil and traced it to Otter Creek. Sunoco Logistics identified a leak in its Colmesneil to Chester oil pipeline approximately 3.5 miles east of Chester, Texas.
"He got the local constable to go with him and they followed the stream upstream until they found the source of it about a couple miles away. It was a release at a pipeline location," Dale Freeman, Tyler County's emergency management coordinator, said.
Freeman said it seems the pipeline had been leaking for several days before it was discovered. The pipeline company responded to the leak immediately on Saturday and shut the pipeline off.
"The pipeline company here is taking care of the situation. They have a full blown incident command set up. We have approximately 160 workers on the ground in the creek bed. They're mopping up the oil and getting every bit of it that they can," Freeman said.
Absorbent pads and fresh water from Russell Creek are being used to clean the spill.
Many miles down the stream the water runs into Neches River but no oil has been found there according to Freeman. He said the leak has no affect on drinking water in Tyler County, and no wildlife or residents have been harmed by the oil spill.
"There's no dead fish in the creek. The affects to the environment is minimal at this point," Freeman said.
The leak has been isolated and oil is no longer flowing through the pipeline. Sunoco Logistics will perform a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident. They said right now their priorities are the safety of the community, their employees and contractors, and the protection and restoration of the environment.
Freeman says crews are planning multiple weeks of clean up operation on the creeks.