Oil Spill Moves Out Of Kansas Into Oklahoma

Monday, July 2nd 2007, 8:31 am
By: News On 6

Rain-swollen rivers in northeast Oklahoma flooded portions of Bartlesville Monday, threatened to submerge sections of Miami and carried 42,000 gallons of spilled oil toward Oologah Lake. The oil spill into the Verdigris River from the Coffeyville Resources refinery on Sunday and was headed toward Oologah Lake, a water source for the city of Tulsa.

"There are nine public water supplies along the Verdigris and the Oologah Lake, and none of them are currently affected," said Skylar McElhaney, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Quality. "Some of the water plant operators are increasing the level of disinfectant as an additional safety measure."

It was unclear if the oil was crude or diesel, McElhaney said, but officials were optimistic the spill would dissipate before it reached Oologah Lake.

"By the time it gets here, there's a good chance it will be dissipated," said Ross Adkins, a spokesman for the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Oologah Lake, about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa, provides flood control in the Verdigris and Arkansas River basins. The lake, which has 209 miles of shoreline that includes equestrian and hiking trails, is used by boaters, water skiers, canoeists, sailors and fishermen.

In Miami and Commerce in far northeast Oklahoma, residents were ordered from their homes as the Neosho River headed toward record flood levels. The river was at 22 feet at 8 a.m. Monday and was expected to reach 28 feet Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service reported. Flood stage for the river is 15 feet.

"At 28 feet, there is very widespread flooding," said Bart Haake, a meteorologist with the weather service's Tulsa office. "Suburban homes and businesses south of Miami could see floodwaters rise well above floor levels."

In nearby Washington County, thousands of residents in areas around Bartlesville and Dewey were evacuated from their homes over the weekend after the Caney River flooded its banks. Emergency officials estimated 2,500 to 3,000 people were forced from their homes, and hundreds of homes sustained major flood damage, said Kary Cox, the county's emergency management director.

"The river's still rising, but the rate of rise has slowed significantly," Cox said early Monday. "We hope that means it's starting to crest."

In Dewey, 58 residents of a nursing home were evacuated on Saturday and sent to different facilities in the county, said Dewey Fire Chief Tom Smith.

"We've also got a trailer park and a housing addition on the south side of town that we evacuated," Smith said. "We had a couple of folks who didn't want to leave until they actually saw the water coming up."

Meanwhile, a trace of rain was reported in Oklahoma City Monday, making this the 20th straight day rain has fallen in the city. Rain remains in the forecast for the next several days, although forecasters said a drying trend could take hold by the weekend.

Watch the video: Aerials Of Flooding North Of Bartlesville

Thousands Evacuate After Relentless Rains Flood Their Homes

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.