On the afternoon of December 10, 2022, the Jefferson County, Kansas, Emergency Manager contacted the National Response Center (#1354683) concerning a explosion and fire at a oil production tank battery north of McLouth, Kansas. In response to the fire, seven fire districts responded to provide fire fighting assistance. There were no deaths or injuries as a result of the incident; however, it did result in catastrophic damage to two fiberglass crude oil storage tanks, each with a storage capacity of 8,484 gallons. Initial reports stated that 11,800 gallons of crude oil were discharged with most contained within in the earthen secondary containment berm surrounding the tank battery. Overland flow from the tank battery is to the northeast towards Fall Creek, a perennial stream. Fall Creek is a tributary of Stranger Creek which flows to the Kansas River.
A Region 7 On-Scene Coordinator responded to the incident on December 11, 2022, to conduct assessment and determine threats to nearby surface waters. A reconnaissance of the facility and surrounding area by the EPA OSC determined that crude oil was primarily confined within the tank battery containment berm with minimal impacts outside the berm. No impacts to Fall Creek occurred. Based on the status of the cleanup and no threat to surface waters, no additional EPA activities were warranted.
Follow-up concerning cleanup activities at the tank battery was to be conducted by the Kansas Corporation Commission. Additionally, the EPA coordinated with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) concerning the EPA's findings.