Around 125 gallons of oil leaked into Lake Texoma Thursday in what is believed to have been an act of vandalism.
Army Corps of Engineers environmental specialist James Vincent said the barrels of crude oil began spilling into the area near the Roosevelt Bridge early Thursday morning. Due to the way the release occurred, it would have been difficult for the oil to have escaped without an intentional act, he said.
“It served no interest for anybody to do that other than whatever drives somebody to commit vandalism,” Vincent said.
Fortunately, however, Godfrey Oil Properties, the well’s owners, were able respond to the release in a timely manner. “Their quick response and getting that spill stopped made it so that we’re not talking about a larger spill— something that can be relatively easily cleaned up,” Vincent said.
The spill was minuscule compared to many larger-scale oil spills, Vincent said. And is currently being contained to the area by absorbent material, which stops the spill from spreading.
The company, in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers, is working to facilitate a timely cleanup, which should be completed relatively soon, Vincent said.
“They’ll continue to do that for the next several days and then the contaminated soil will be treated or removed,” Vincent said.
Vincent said there have been no observable contamination issues beyond the immediate vicinity of the oil well and no evidence of any fish or wildlife injuries.
Swimmers at the lake are encouraged to use discretion when in the area, but the oil spill is believed to pose no threat to lake-goers, Vincent said. If anyone spots an oil sheen on top of the water or anything unusual he or she is encouraged to notify the Army Corps of Engineers.
The cause of the spill is still under investigation by the Marshall County Sheriff’s office.
“Our bottom line is trying to make sure that the environment, in the end, is fully recovered,” Vincent said. “We are working in partnership with the responsible party to ensure a complete and effective cleanup.”