BAYTOWN, Texas (AP) — A 630-gallon (2,385-liter) oil spill in a bay on the eastern outskirts of Houston has been contained and is being cleaned from the water, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Paige Hause said the mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) spill occurred Saturday at Baytown from a wellhead that was closed and abandoned in 1980s, but it is unclear who the current owner is.
“That’s still part of the investigation ... to determine who the responsible party is,” Hause said.
Hause said the spill is not considered large, but the health and environmental impact has not been determined, with surveys of the area now underway. Hause said an absorbent material has been spread along the shoreline of the bay and oil is being vacuumed from the water.
The efforts seek to keep oil out of the Houston Ship Channel, which was closed nearly a year ago after flammable chemicals from a petrochemical storage facility seeped into what is one of America’s busiest shipping lanes.
Environmental officials with Harris County, the state of Texas and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not immediately return phone calls for comment.