Georgetown’s ArcelorMittal Steel Mill has been shut down while plant officials tried to pinpoint the cause of a leak that caused oil to spill into the Sampit River, Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen said Thursday afternoon.
The Coast Guard, which was called to the scene Wednesday afternoon, is still monitoring the situation.
There had been no reports of injured wildlife as of Thursday afternoon.
Jorgensen said oil was discharged into the river through a regular outflow from the plant’s water treatment system.
Jorgensen said the oil apparently got into the treatment system through a leak from the plant’s water pooling system.
ArcelorMittal shut down the plant after it was determined that it was the source of the spill.
Jorgensen said the company has been very proactive in working with the Coast Guard. It called in a hazard response specialist from Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday afternoon and that company was on the scene by Wednesday evening.
It was continuing to work on the cleanup Thursday afternoon. It was not known exactly how many gallons of tainted water were in the spill, but more than 500 gallons of oil-water mixture had been recovered by late Thursday morning.
The plant has a permanent containment boom around it, and the Coast Guard discovered Wednesday that a portion of it was snagged on a piling, creating a gap that was filled by a new, 50-foot section. An additional 100 feet of new absorbent material and hard boom was placed at the drainpipe where the oil leaked from the facility.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.