The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is investigating an oil spill near West Union.
The spill was reported to the DEP at 2 p.m. Thursday. Inspectors from the DEP arrived at the scene just after 3:30 p.m. and discovered that approximately 20 to 25 barrels of oil leaked from a well into an unnamed tributary and later flowed into Tom's Fork Creek, said DEP Spokesman Tom Aluise. Ryan Environmental is working with the DEP to contain the oil, which is estimated to be between 800 to 1,000 gallons. The oil came from a private well owned by Sam Farrow, an Alabama resident. The DEP is working with Farrow, who could be cited for the spill, said Aluise. Preliminary reports indicate that a pipe on the well may have frozen and then burst, resulting in the spill.
Crews from the DEP and Ryan Environmental worked through the weekend at the scene, placing absorbent boons in the waterway and using vacuum trucks to remove the crude oil from the creek. Aluise said Monday that most of the oil had been removed and that booms will remain in the water to collect any residual oil. Soil at the well site was also impacted and Ryan Environmental, with DEP supervision, will remove the soil from the site, re-seed, mulch, and dispose of the soil at an approved landfill.
Aluise said spill is located about 10 miles upstream from West Union, where the nearest public water intake is located. Because the oil didn't reach Meathouse Fork, public water isn't believed to be in danger. The well owner will be responsible for the cost of clean up, said Aluise.