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Gas leak stopped; residents back home after nearly week-long evacuation

WAYNE COUNTY — The Wayne County Emergency Management Agency and Escambia Operating Company, LLC report a gas well leaking hydrogen sulfide has been stopped and the well is secure.

In the 36 hours since the free flow of gas from the well was stopped air quality monitoring indicates the area is safe, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

A one-mile radius around the site was evacuated affecting seven homes and 27 residents following the July 19 leak. Officials say all the evacuated residents have returned to their homes.

“It took a lot of teamwork and a large coordinated effort to stop this leak and secure the well,” said Wayne County Emergency Management director Todd Cleary. “We are thankful that nobody was injured and that our residents can now safely return home.”

MEMA, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Mississippi Oil and Gas Board all supported the response to the leak.

Hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous, flammable gas, which gives off the smell of rotten eggs. It can deaden a person’s sense of smell so a potential victim may be unaware of its presence.

According to MEMA, Escambia Operating Co. says it is launching an investigation to determine the cause of the leak. The company says cleanup will begin as soon as possible.

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