Oil spill adds agitation to tri-state flooding

A 42,000-gallon oil spill in Kansas is complicating state and federal response to flooding that has walloped that state, Oklahoma, and Texas. Weeks of rain have forced evacuations and caused at least 11 deaths. On Sunday, workers at a Coffeyville, Kan., oil refinery began evacuation procedures, but a malfunction sent black gold into the Verdigris River. Officials are watching warily as the ooze seeps toward Oologah Lake, a popular recreation area that also provides drinking water for the city of Tulsa, Okla. “There are nine public water supplies along the Verdigris and the Oologah Lake, and none of them are currently affected,” said Skylar McElhaney of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality yesterday. “Some of the water plant operators are increasing the level of disinfectant as an additional safety measure.” With the smell of petroleum fouling the air, residents have been warned to avoid floodwaters. Which, what with the flooding and all, may be easier said than done.