NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is supporting the US Coast Guard's response to an oil spill in the Bayou Perot, Lake Salvador area of southern Louisiana, approximately 20 miles south southwest of New Orleans. On January 21, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC) in Baton Rouge was notified of an oil release in Bayou Perot, Louisiana. Initial overflights identified oil and gas jetting 40-60 feet into the air, and first responders determined that the source was a wellhead that was hit by a passing vessel. Based on the extent of the slick and duration of the release, it is estimated that, as of January 25, 67,500 gallons of condensate crude (oil coproduced with natural gas) has spilled thus far.
As a result of the spill, a 20 mile section of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) south of Lake Salvador was closed to shipping January 21, but was opened to one-way vessel traffic January 23 with a traffic management system in place to address any backlog of waiting vessels. The ICW has since been reopened. The spill and partial ICW closure are not anticipated to cause any significant disruption of the national petroleum supply system.
The well head was successfully shut on the afternoon of January 25. Response operations continue to contain the spill within the Bayou Perot area and skimmers are actively recovering oil contained in booms. Shoreline cleanup operations also continue.
The NOAA Scientific Support Team has four members currently on-scene conducting aerial overflights to identify gross shoreline oiling and floating oil and to coordinate spill cleanup and assessment (SCAT) surveys. SCAT surveys will concentrate on Lake Salvador and northwest Bayou Perot where the most significant oiling has been observed. The NOAA Team also has a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) expert onscene to document potential impacts to wildlife or aquatic biota. NOAA will work with other federal and state trustees to decide whether a natural resource restoration plan will be developed under the Oil Pollution Act and state law.For more information visit the following links: