Hundreds of Barrels of Oil Estimated to Have Spilled Into Garfield County Creek

News 9 - June 5, 2023 6:47 am

Oil spill cleanup in Garfield County creek June 2, 2023.


The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said an estimated 500 barrels of a crude oil mixture spilled into a creek in Garfield County.

About 3 miles of Ninemile Creek, located between Hillsdale and Kremlin, were contaminated, Matt Skinner, the director of Public Information at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, said.

Skinner said the Corporation Commission got a report at around 8:30 a.m. Friday that the spill had occurred.

It originated from a facility owned by Nemaha Environmental Services, a company that disposes of drilling mud, a fluid that helps with the drilling of wells.

The company was storing crude oil and other materials that were separated from the drilling mud during the disposal process, Skinner said. But rain may have caused the storage area to overflow or created enough pressure to damage the dike around it, causing the crude oil mixture to spill into the creek, Skinner explained.

Skinner said there were sightings of dead fish after the spill.

A cleanup company extracted about 70 barrels of the crude oil mixture from the creek as of Friday night, said Skinner. But up to 500 barrels of oil were estimated to have gotten into the water, Skinner added. He said it was unclear how long the cleanup would take.

Staff from the Corporation Commission were on site to ensure proper protocols were being followed during the containment and cleanup process, Skinner said.

Newt Roberts, a farmer who lives near the area of the spill, said some neighboring farmers were concerned about their cattle drinking the contaminated water from the creek, prompting them to relocate their livestock to other pastures.

“It did go across three different farms for us,” Roberts said. “It’ll cost the farmer because if he’s renting that pasture, he’s paying rent and not getting to use it.”

Roberts said his own cattle are safe. He added that he has never seen another oil spill in his 30-plus years of living in the area.

“I just couldn’t believe how much oil had run down the creek,” Roberts said. “The cleanup is going to be very timely and costly.”


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