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Oklahoma City officials say clean up should be quick after oil spill

An oil geyser spouted near northwest 178th street and North Portland Avenue at 10:37 AM Monday 9/25/2023.
Oklahoma City Fire Department
Oklahoma City Fire Department
An oil geyser spouted near northwest 178th street and North Portland Avenue at 10:37 AM Monday 9/25/2023.

Construction workers struck a 16-inch pipe containing crude oil Monday morning in far Northwest Oklahoma City.

The strike was near the intersection of Northwest 178th Street and North Portland Avenue. Some of the oil seeped into stormwater drains. In a social media post, the OKC fire department said no one was in any danger from the incident.

The last oil pipeline that burst in the city was in 2018. The oil spilled into a pond near a neighborhood near Memorial and County Line Road.

Lou Bianco lives a block away from where the spill occurred. He said he’s not too worried about the oil spill.

“I'm really not concerned about it. I mean, it's sad that they hit an oil pipeline, but it happens,” he said. “Maybe next time they'll go to 811 and try to find out where the lines are before they start digging.”

According to Okie811, a one-call system for locating underground utilities, all contractors are required to survey the land before digging. It is not known if the contractors who are building commercial real estate at the corner of Northwest 178th street and North Portland Avenue had a survey done before digging.

Derek Johnson, the environmental protection superintendent for the city, said there are environmental concerns that won’t be assessed until there is a clean-up plan.

“The amount of product that's released is always a worry. It might increase the time it takes to clean up. But in this case, they're doing a fantastic job with containment and collection of the product on site.”

The OKC fire department said crude oil is tough to get out of the environment. Johnson said clean-up could take flushing the storm drainage system and a lot of soil recovery.

“It hangs around. But luckily most of it has been kept on site and contained with containment berms,” he said.

The oil spill was contained within three hours. Johnson says the spill should be cleaned up pretty quickly.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Britny (they/them) reports for StateImpact Oklahoma with an emphasis on science and environment.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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