Cleanup

Contractors employed to respond to Saturday’s oil spill in Tabbs Bay remove oil-soaked absorbent material from the shoreline along Evergreen Road Tuesday. From left are Rick Hernandez, Lorrena Vasquez and Mark Blanco with Industrial Solutions, Inc.

The cleanup of a weekend oil spill in Tabbs Bay continued Tuesday, with workers at the scene saying they expect it to continue for several weeks.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, about 630 gallons of crude oil leaked from an out-of-service wellhead and has affected about a mile of coastline along Evergreen Road in Baytown.

The Coast Guard reported that more than 6,400 feet of boom has been deployed to keep the spill from getting into the main ship channel.

Nearly 12,500 feet of absorbent material was placed along the shoreline to collect oil. On Tuesday, that absorbent material was being collected for disposal.

While much of the spilled oil was contained, absorbed or removed, there were patches of oil on the sand and rocks lining the shore and a visible ring of oil on marsh grass lining the channel.

In areas, the surface of the water had the distinctive rainbow sheen of oil. There were no visible soiled or dead fish or birds.

Once the free-floating oil is removed from the water, work will start on cleaning the shoreline.

The Coast Guard and the Texas Railroad Commission are working to secure the leaking well and determine who owns it and is responsible for cleanup.

Response in the first three days of the spill included the Coast Guard Houston-Galveston Incident Management Division and Drone Team, the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City, the Texas General Land Office, Innovative Energy Services, Gaither Petroleum Corporation, the Railroad Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife and oil spill removal contractors.

The cause of the spill has not yet been determined.

Tabbs Bay and the adjacent shore were the location of the Goose Creek Oil Field, discovered in 1903 and leading to the area’s development as a center of petroleum extraction and refining.

While few wells still survive in the bay, it was the site of the first offshore oil drilling in Texas.

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