The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday it had sent a surveillance plane to an area in Louisiana hard-hit by Hurricane Ida, which includes an oil refinery where there were reports of an oil spill.
The plane, sent from Texas, will collect data on the Philips 66 refinery and other priority sites, an EPA spokesman told Reuters.
“The EPA’s ASPECT, radiological and chemical live detector, with infrared platform and photographic imagery, has been activated to support the state of Louisiana,” the spokesperson said.
Phillips 66 previously stated that flooding occurred at the Alliance Refinery and a layer of unknown origin in several flooded areas at the refinery had been found.
“At the moment, the glossy coating appears to be safe and confined within the refinery area. The cleaning crew is already on site. These incidents are reported to the appropriate regulatory agencies as soon as they are discovered,” the company said.
“All full post-hurricane evaluations are still ongoing at the refinery. An investigation into the cause/origin of the layer will be carried out. The refinery is still closed,” he continued.
The Associated Press also reported a possible spill near an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico after evaluating aerial images of the disaster zone taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The photos appear to show a one-mile (1.6-kilometer) long layer of brownish black in the waters south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
The rig had the Enterprise Offshore Drilling sign on the helipad. Enterprise Offshore Drilling said in a statement on its website that its platforms did not suffer any damage or failure and that “no discharge to the environment occurred at our facility.”
The US Coast Guard told the AP that it also flew planes over the refinery in addition to the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday evening.
Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the Gulf region in the US, made landfall Sunday in Louisiana, destroying many communities. [uh/ab]