Major Flooding in Kansas Causes Oil Spill in Coffeyville Area

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mobilized two On-Scene Coordinators to Coffeyville, Kan., in the early morning of July 1, 2007, to respond to an oil spill caused by major flooding in the area. The OSCs have collected air and water samples. On July 2, 2007, additional OSCs from EPA Regions 6 and 7 were dispatched to Coffeyville with the EPA Mobile Command Post to coordinate pollution assessments from the flooding.

As with any flooding situation, EPA recommends avoiding contact with flood water. However, if residents re-enter homes contaminated with oil, they should take the following precautions to avoid contact with oil substances:

Protect skin from contacting oil by:

  1. Using oil resistant gloves. (Oil may dissolve latex gloves. Use another type of glove.)
  2. Cover arms and legs, and wear coveralls or clothing that can be left at the oil-contaminated property.
  3. If you get oil on skin, immediately wash with soap and water.

At the oil-contaminated property:

  1. Wear boot covers or leave work boots.
  2. Open doors and windows to ventilate the property.
  3. Do not take oil-contaminated items to non-contaminated locations.

Because children are more likely to be exposed to contaminated soil, local officials should consider restricting children from entering areas containing oil-related waste. Residents may be exposed to soil contaminants from contact with their pets; therefore, local officials should consider restricting pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.

If you have health questions about exposure to oil, call the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at (913) 551-1312. EPA will distribute fliers to residents in flooded areas with helpful information for citizens whose homes or businesses have been flooded. The information deals with downed power lines, disinfecting areas contaminated by flood water, dealing with mold, food safety, making drinking water safe, and avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning.

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