Minor pipeline leak at Rutherford Beach

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - U.S. Coast Guard Officials and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality are at the scene of what's characterized as a minor pipeline leak at Rutherford Beach in Cameron Parish.

To get to it you have to drive nearly five miles west from the public part of Rutherford Beach.  Coast Guard Spokesman Lieutenant Michelle Ferguson in Lake Charles says a production line from an oil and gas line leaked-- but it's contained. They discovered it Tuesday.  Ferguson says the responsible party, Forza, immediately shut off flow as soon as the leak was discovered.  "Basically, Forza took immediate action to shut in that pipeline. And the remaining product that was left was approximately one barrel. Right now they are conducting cleanup efforts and they have been conducting cleanup efforts since Tuesday night. Right now they've created kind of a containment field. So, they have berms on each side. The berms are the raised hilly area that you see behind you and that's basically helping to contain it. They also have containment boom at the end of the berms and you're looking at cranes and pumps that are basically getting all of the sand out of that area because they need to get down to clamp the pipeline."

They estimate less than a barrel got out-- some in the water and some on the beach and those here say cleanup is finished. Officials say they'll be working round the clock to try to clamp the pipeline. Ferguson explains they must dig 25 feet down to repair the pipeline. "They're using two pumps, one on each side and this is going to help them go faster with getting the sand out of the way so they can get down to the pipeline. So you're seeing two discharge hoses as they're connecting that to the pumps. "

She says they will replace pipeline in the months to come which Ferguson says was already planned for expansion. No word tonight what caused the leak.

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