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Oil Pits in Minden, La., To Be Cleaned Up by New Multi-Agency Team

Release Date: 6/21/2000
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to clean up two abandoned oil pits in Minden, La., which pose a pollution threat to the waters of the United States. A newly-composed team of government representatives is coordinating the cleanup.

     "This effort is a fine example of how federal, state and local government entities can pool their resources and cooperate for the good of the environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke.

     The Oil Pollution Intergovernmental Team is composed of representatives from the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Coast Guard, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other state and local governmental bodies as appropriate. The team accelerates response actions to long term oil pollution problems.

     The city of Minden is a major participant in the cleanup action.  The city, which owns the pit property, has agreed to transport the nonhazardous solidified wastes to a nearby landfill. Minden Mayor Bill Robertson said, "City participation in this project is the environmentally responsible thing to do, and it will substantially reduce any future liability the city may have."  

     Colonel Carla Coulson, Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division said, "The Corps of Engineers will use some of our assets on this important project.  We are glad to be one of the partners in this intergovernmental team, and look forward to future participation."

     Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator Roland Guidry said, "We have had great success using this team approach on abandoned barges in south Louisiana."

     The pits contain almost 10,200 cubic yards of contaminated oil sludge. Runoff from the pits pollutes a local stream, a tributary to the Red River. There is no fencing or other barrier around the pits to restrict access by children, pets or wildlife.

     The cleanup action will likely last about 12 weeks and may cost up to $1.2 million.   Crews are expected to begin the work in late June.