It's a messy job. "We've had oil come down the creek," said Rick Graham. Cleaning up an oil spill demands long hours and fast results. "These guys are wore out," he said.
Rick Graham and his crew have been working for four days to contain an 1,100 gallon spill of oil wastewater. Heavily diluted, but still considered a threat. The result of a broken pump. The contaminated water? Headed for Lake Alan Henry, future water source for the City of Lubbock, adding even more urgency to the cleanup efforts. On top of that, workers fighting against the winding terrain.
"Another thing that makes it worse is there's probably a 1,000 little old drawls and creeks that run into the main creek," said Graham. Rains over the weekend made the situation even worse by bringing the oil spill closer to Lake Alan Henry, but workers have damned the creek and are using giant absorbent towels to pick up any residual oil. "Yeah, they call them diapers," Graham said chuckling.
And so far, the diapers and damns have worked, halting the flow just a 1/4 of a mile from the lake. "We stopped the flow of oil going towards the lake, and we start going back towards the leak, that away if we get a rain or whatever, we've got our damns in place and stop any more damages," said Graham.
Officials say no oil has been detected in the lake. Meanwhile, what was the cost of the massive cleanup? Nearly $30,000. And all for a sum total of oil that would only fill an office water cooler. "Probably no more than five gallons between here and the actual run over," said Graham.