Workers cleaning up oil slick at Lake Bridgeport

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on May 17, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Updated Monday, May 17 at 10:32 PM

Lake Bridgeport

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LAKE BRIDGEPORT — A natural gas line ruptured Friday, releasing up to 200 gallons of light oil into Lake Bridgeport, the main water source for Wise County residents.

The leak was plugged within a few hours, but the cleanup effort stretched into its third day on Monday.

About two dozen workers scraped and swept up everything they could behind a long boom laid over a small inlet at Lake Bridgeport.

It was a small leak, but a major headache to remedy.

"We don't want any product in the reservoir; it's a drinking water supply," said Darrel Andrews of the Tarrant Regional Water District. "I don't want to say it's not a big deal, but their response to it has minimized it greatly."

Andrews said a two-inch line from a gas well started leaking what he described as light oil during Friday's storms. The line runs across Jasper Creek just north of the lake.

An oil sheen was clearly visible in an aerial view of the lake on Monday.

"There was going to be some distillate in that pipeline, but it was less than five barrels of product that would have been spilled," Andrews said.

The Texas Railroad Commission estimated that no more than 200 gallons contaminated the 12,000-acre lake.

"Any time petroleum products are getting into anybody's public water supply, it's a source of concern" said Runaway Bay Mayor Len Jowitt, adding that he had received no warnings about a change in water quality.

An environmental scientist said evidence of the residual oil on the lake's surface should disappear soon.

The water was being tested, but the spill was said to be 90 percent contained on Monday evening. Cleanup was expected to be complete on Tuesday.

Lake Bridgeport was closed to watercraft on Friday until further notice due to high water levels.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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