Plant involved in Dickinson Bayou leak cited in the past

DICKINSON, Texas (KTRK) -- After three days of cleaning, much of an oily substance is removed from the Dickinson Bayou after giving neighbors a scare.

On Saturday, images of a bright orange, and colorful Dickinson Bayou trickled throughout the community.

READ MORE : Chemical leak stops boating at Dickinson Bayou

"The water was all different colors," Dickinson resident Jay Kellough said. "It was kind of muddy looking. It was orange looking to me."

Calumet Dickinson Refinery said the coloring happened after last week's frigid temperatures broke a valve. The substance overflowed into a containment area and made its way to the bayou, snaking its way a mile along the banks.

"I was very, very concerned," resident Joan Malmrose said. "There is lots of boating. I kayak on the bayou so that's very concerning."

The company hired a cleaning crew, and days later, the discoloration was gone.

Still, this presented an unusual situation for emergency responders.

"Not that I can recall. Not here in the bayou," Dickinson Police Department Sgt. Tim Cromie said. "No. We haven't had any incidents like this."

In fact, a records request from the past six years shows the state cited the company four times. Five years ago, Calumet received a violation for failure to demonstrate that containers are inspected weekly for leakage.

On Saturday, state officials say 260 gallons of the substance leaked. It is a liquid that officials say was used for drilling fluid.

The state says it's non-hazardous, non-flammable, and non-corrosive. However, it is a environmental pollutant, which is why it sat on top of the water.

Crews were able to have most of the bayou cleaned by Monday night.

The public boat ramp may remained closed for a couple days as crews continue to monitor the banks for any more of the substance.

The color may have returned to normal, but it's a scare that doesn't have some taking a dip anytime soon.

"I'm not sure about swimming. But kayaking, yes," Malmrose said.

"No, I'm not going to anytime soon," Kellough said.

Calumet Dickinson Refinery said it's conducting an internal investigation.

In a statement to Eyewitness News the company said, "Our first priority is the safety of our employees and the local community. We took all the necessary and appropriate actions to effectively contain the release."

The Texas General Land Office said it's investigation is ongoing.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.