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Crude oil spill in Escambia River

ESCAMBIA COUNTY   --   The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a crude oil spill in a creek that connects to the Escambia River.

It happened early Thursday morning in North Santa Rosa County.

DEP was notified of the spill by Quantum Energy's Jay plant around 5:00 a.m., according to Escambia County Emergency Management Director John Dosh. Dosh says he was told the spill released about 120 gallons of crude.

Santa Rosa County Emergency Management Director Brad Baker says an incident report from the state indicates the material overflowed a holding pond and got  into a creek that is a tributary of the river. He says the report states the company put out booms at the spill site and had a contractor cleaning up .

A viewer, who was at Fisher's Landing near the Escambia River Bridge first called  Channel Three this morning, saying he could see and smell the substance in the river there. The DEP's Bureau of Response is investigating according to  Florida Wildlife Commission spokesperson Stan Kirkland. Kirkland says he was told a pump failure caused the spill.  Kirkland  says any cleanup would be decided by the DEP, while  it would be up to the Florida Department of Health whether any fish or wildlife advisories are necessary. Channel Three has calls into both agencies and will continue to follow this story.

DEP says the company has hired three contractors who are performing the clean-up. The clean-up is not only on site, but includes the creek and the Escambia River where booms are in the water. The pump failure was due to cold weather according to DEP as the pump froze up. The DEP says an investigation will determine if any fines are appropriate.

Quantum Statement - Jay, FL

Official statement:

At Quantum, protection of the environment is important to us.  The recent unprecedented cold snap damaged some of our equipment at the Jay Plant, which led to a release of approximately 3 barrels of oil.  The release was discovered around 3:30 this morning.  Immediately upon discovery of this situation, we activated our response plan and responded with all available means to contain and recover this oil.  The source of the release is now under control. Recovery efforts continue at this time in coordination with local and state agencies.  We do not believe this situation presents a threat to the public or the environment.