Oil spill in Corpus Christi Bay nearly 4 times larger than originally estimated

So far, 13 birds have died due to exposure

The oil spill from Flint Hill Resources in Corpus Christi Bay was nearly four times larger than initially reported, the oil company said in an update.

Flint Hills Resources said 335 barrels of light crude oil spilled into the La Quinta Channel due to a pipe failure, not 90 barrels as originally estimated, according to a news release from Sunday. The new estimate equals about 14,000 gallons of oil.

The Coast Guard said the spill was reported on the night of Dec. 24 at Flint Hills’ facility in Ingleside, located across the bay from Corpus Christi.

In a news release, the Coast Guard said the pipeline cracked in multiple places, and the spill covered an area that was approximately 300 by 20 yards.

Flint Hills said an analysis conducted on Friday showed that the spill was worse — and caused more damage.

So far, 13 dead birds were found in the impacted area and one turtle was treated for possible exposure, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported.

Crews are using 3,000 absorbent pads and 60,000 feet of boom to help clean up the spill. The Caller-Times reported that the cleanup is “largely complete,” and 145 barrels have been recovered.

“Ground and aerial patrols continue to identify areas in Corpus Christi Bay that require clean up,” the Flint Hills release states. “Clean up efforts have occurred and/or remain underway at various locations in Corpus Christi Bay, including near Dock 5 at the Flint Hills Resources Ingleside Crude oil terminal, the Ship Channel, North Beach, Indian Point, Nueces Bay, the Rookery Island, and the Dredge Material Placement Area (DMPA10).”

To report impacted land or oil sheens, call the Flint Hills Resources Ingleside Response Center at 361-396-2831.

The Coast Guard, the Texas General Land Office, the Port of Corpus Christi, the Port of Corpus Christi Harbormaster’s Office, the Corpus Christi Area Oil Spill Control Association, Miller Environmental Services, USA DeBusk and Horizon Environmental are monitoring the spill.

The cause of the pipeline failure is still under investigation.

Boom contains an oil spill in the La Quinta Channel in Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, Dec. 25, 2022. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi pollution responders estimated up to 3,800 gallons of light crude oil entered the water from a cracked pipeline near the Flint Hills Ingleside facility. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen McConnell) (USCG)

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.