Oil spill near Kansas wetlands prompts urgent response to contain contamination

The Rattlesnake Creek flows up to the wetlands, but after the oil leak, the EPA is working to make sure only water keeps flowing.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:49 PM CDT
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STAFFORD COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - An oil leak just west of a federally-protected area has government officials working quickly to stop the contamination from moving down stream. The leak’s source is a disposal pipe over a creek near the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

In Stafford County, Rattlesnake Creek flows up to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge but after an oil and brine leak Tuesday, the EPA is working to make sure it’s only water that keeps floating.

“A line that ran to a disposal well nearby, there was a leak in that line that just happened to be right over the creek here,” said EPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator Daniel O’Crowley.

After the EPA was made aware of the broken line, it was shut off to stop the leaking.

“We have impacts to about four miles down stream, so must of it within three miles, and there’s a little bit beyond that point,” O’Crowley said.

Now, they’re working to remove oil from Rattlesnake Creek.

“They’re fortifying a dam, that basically, it’s constructed in a way that it allows the water through but not the oil,” O’Crowley said.

He said the pads they’re using in the cleanup process should remove most of the oil.

“As far as the oil impact, I think we have a pretty good handle on it now. There’s some rain coming, so we’re really trying to prepare for that, make sure nothing gets washed out. But I think we’re in a good spot right now,” O’Crowley said.