Abandoned Wellhead Spews Gas, Oil and Mud in Bayou St. Denis, LA


US Coast Guard Photo: Abandoned Wellhead Spewing Gas, Oil and Mud in Bayou St Denis, Barataria Basin, Louisiana

Here we go again, oil and gas spewing into the Barataria Basin from a ruptured, abandoned gas wellhead.  In the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 27, 2010, a tug boat pushing a barge ran over an abandoned wellhead in Bayou St Denis, about 20 miles south of Lafitte/Barataria, Louisiana, resulting in a rupture releasing a 100 foot plume of oil, gas and mud into the air, surrounding waters and marsh.  The Times-Picayunne Newspaper reported, it was unknown if the wellhead had working warning lights or not.  As of Wednesday, July 21, 2010, from personal observation, it did not have working lights and had not had any for over a year.  Since the BP Oil Spill began, over 3 months ago, I have given numerous interviews and I always tell reporters that I have seen numerous oil and gas spills, leaks and debris in and around the Barataria Watershed.  These spills and leaks are smaller in comparison to the BP Oil Spill, but are a common place and should not be allowed to happen.  When I tell reporters, about the lack of monitoring and enforcement, it is often met with disbelief.  The proof is in the pudding, with this latest abandoned wellhead accident.  Hopefully it will not do to much damage, before it is capped.  An inexpensive, simple, easy to maintain light placed on the wellhead and this rupture could have been avoided entirely.  I can not begin to tell you how many wellheads exist out there with unmaintained, malfunctioning lights.   Failing to take these inexpensive, simple safety precautions causes serious environmental and fisheries damage or worse human injury.

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