Covington County Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Sanford, Covington County Sheriff Ben Ford and representatives of Williams Gas Pipeline participated in a Command Staff briefing this morning
regarding the natural gas leak at the Eminence, Mississippi facility. The following information is being transmitted to the public following this briefing:
• Approximately 20 families who were evacuated from their homes as a safety precaution following a leak at an underground gas storage facility will be allowed to return to their homes beginning
Saturday, January 8th.
• Williams, the storage facility’s operator, had put many of the families up at a hotel in Collins, Miss., since the leak was discovered on December 28th.
• On Friday the company completed drilling seven monitoring wells to confirm that methane had not migrated into the shallow sand outside of the company’s property.
• In addition, representatives from the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health have been monitoring air quality in the area and have not discovered any adverse readings.
• In a statement the company said, “Throughout this entire process we proceeded with an abundance of caution to protect the safety of our neighbors and employees. We deeply regret the inconvenience and
we sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding.”
• The company is currently safely flaring gas from the wellhead in order to further depressurize the cavern.
• Williams plans to conduct a closer inspection of the well in order to complete its investigation into the cause of the leak.
The safety of residents, emergency responders and workers has been the paramount concern for Incident Commanders and to date no injuries have been reported from the incident. Covington County EMA Director Greg Sanford notes, “The response to this incident by the Covington County Sheriff’s Department, Covington County EMA and Williams Gas Pipeline along with numerous emergency services agencies and private contractors has been robust and seamless. It has no doubt been a difficult time for the evacuees, but we sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding that their safety was of utmost concern during this incident.” He adds, “On behalf of the Covington County Emergency Management Agency, I would like to extend a sincere thank-you to the emergency response agencies from across the State of Mississippi who provided on-scene support and offers of support. The mutual aid support that we received from fellow emergency service organizations has been a blessing. While we hope that disaster never strikes any of our neighbors, we at the Covington County EMA stand ready to assist them if and when they find themselves in need.”