NEW ORLEANS, October 23, 2014 – Herman, Herman & Katz has stepped in to help residents and landowners in northwest Louisiana that have been impacted by the most recent oil spill. An estimated 4,000 barrels (168,000 gallons) of crude oil – enough to fill about six rail-tank cars – spilled from the Mid-Valley pipeline into a four-mile stretch of Tete Bayou in Caddo Parish on October 13, 2014. Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. of Philadelphia, owner of the pipeline, plans to return the failed section to service after replacing the unknown damage. The 65-year-old pipeline carries up to 280,000 barrels of crude oil per day approximately 1,000 miles from Longview, Texas to Samaria, Michigan.
Within a week of the spill, at least 250 cleanup workers, donning fire retardant clothing, hard hats, safety goggles, and respirators, had recovered approximately 2,250 barrels of the spilled oil. However, Jeffrey Shields, Sunoco communications manager, acknowledged that it could take months to clean up the mess. Once the oil is removed, the focus will switch to remediation and restoration, according to Jeffrey Meyers, spill response specialist with the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office. The time-consuming task, says Meyers, will be to locate the pockets of residual oil that could be trapped in the soil and even crawfish holes. Air monitors have been activated near the oil spill to read volatile organic contaminants; Sunoco and the EPA are independently monitoring the air quality.
Near the cleanup and recovery work site, the pungent odor of crude oil fills the air. Crude oil is made up of many chemicals, including benzene. Exposure to benzene can increase the risk of cancer, and is known to cause bone marrow failure. Benzene, which targets the liver, kidney, lungs, heart, and brain, has also been linked to aplastic anemia, leukemia, DNA strand breaks, chromosomal damage, and the birth defects spina bifida and anencephaly.
Sunoco’s Mid-Valley pipeline has been the source of 40 oil spill incidents since 2006, of which around 88% has been recovered. Property damages caused by these spills and leaks total at least $7.5 million. In 2000, 63,000 gallons of oil spilled into Campit Lake in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, due to pipeline corrosion. About 260,000 gallons spilled into the Kentucky River due to a rupture caused by girth weld failure in a pipe laid in 1950. Construction crews struck the pipeline in Burlington, Kentucky, causing 115,000 gallons to spill, 80 homes to be evacuated, and oil contaminating the sanitary sewer system and a creek. Approximately 20,000 gallons leaked into a nature reserve near Cincinnati in March, 2014 through a bottom-side dent that contained a five-inch through-wall crack in the pipeline. The spill was only discovered when public complaints came in about the odor. Remediation efforts are still underway over seven months later.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by the most recent spill, please feel free to contact our firm with any question you may have regarding your rights. For more information about Herman, Herman & Katz’s experience in oil spill litigation, please see www.thetruthaboutthebpsettlement.com.