Citgo Refinery - Calcasieu River
Oil Spill | Calcasieu River, LA | June 2006
On June 19, 2006, over 99,000 barrels of waste oil and millions of gallons of untreated oily wastewater overflowed from storage tanks and discharged into a containment area in CITGO’s Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex. An estimated 54,000 barrels of waste oil and an undetermined amount of oily wastewater flowed out of the containment area and into the Indian Marais, the Calcasieu River, and adjoining waterways in the Calcasieu Estuary.
What Were the Impacts?
Approximately 150 linear miles of shoreline habitats were affected by the spill, including hundreds of acres of marsh, intertidal, and subtidal sediments. The oil directly impacted fish, benthic organisms, and several species of birds, including secretive marsh birds such as rails and larger birds such as gulls.
The released oil was in a highly volatile and acutely toxic form, requiring initial closure of oiled areas to responders and natural resource damage assessment teams. The highly toxic compounds in the oil were soluble, resulting in significant mixing into the water column. Between June 23 and June 28, numerous fish kills were observed in and around the floating oil.
In the days following the spill, fishing and other recreational activities in the area were shut down.
What’s Happening Now?
On 6/24/2021 the U.S Department of Justice lodged a Consent Decree valued at $19.69 million to restore natural resources injured by the Citgo Refinery oil spill. After a public comment period, the settlement was finalized on October 31, 2021.
This Consent Decree settles claims of injuries and will go towards restoration projects that benefit habitats, fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreational activities impacted by the oil spill.
“The slop oil that was released during the spill was like nothing I have seen in years of assessing oil spill injuries in Louisiana. Implementing restoration projects that enhance the natural resources in the Calcasieu Estuary is a high priority for the trustees.”
Gina Muhs Saizan, Natural Resource Specialist, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office