Oil sheen contained in Talbert Channel near site of last year’s major O.C. pipeline spill.
The O.C. pipeline, built in 2010, and the Talbert Channel are on opposite ends of a river and two creeks near the mouth of Lake Talquin that flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
And they both need to be addressed as soon as possible.
With a few hours of good weather and high tide coming in Thursday, a temporary patch of protective oil sheen is due to be set in place in the Talbert Channel about 6 miles offshore about five hours later.
The patch will allow the Mississippi to continue past the existing pipeline, which is already out of service, out into the Gulf.
It will also slow the flow of oil through the existing pipeline, which has been leaking for months. So in addition to stopping the oil spill from the leaking pipeline, it may also improve the situation in the Talbert Channel – where the oil spill is already threatening shorelines and fishing habitats, and where the Mississippi River once flowed.
The patch will be placed on top of a barrier system of metal and oil drums to try to stabilize the sheen. And it will help protect fishing from the oil but also help the Mississippi River by discouraging the oil from washing into it – so that the oil would either remain in the channel and not flow much or more likely flow slowly in the river with the help of the temporary patch.
“This is going to protect the Mississippi River and also the shoreline in South Mississippi and surrounding states until the pipeline can be repaired,” said Michael Keim, assistant secretary of Interior for Oceans and Atmosphere. “We have to protect the river while we repair the pipeline, because if we don’t do that, we will risk the health of those people on the river who have been affected by the current oil leak.”
Once the patch is put in place, a team of about 15 inspectors will be sent down to the site by helicopter to test the condition