U.S. Water News Online
COFFEYVILLE, Kan. -- As Coffeyville residents continued to
regroup, a week after floodwaters inundated their homes and
businesses, the government raised new concerns about health problems
from the contaminated water and its residue.
Lawns, houses and ballfields on the city's east side were streaked
with blackish oily stains left behind after 71,400 gallons of crude
oil spilled from the Coffeyville Resources refinery recently because
of a malfunction while the refinery shut down before the flooding
along the Verdigris River.
The smell of oil also has lingered.
Officials have revoked all privileges for residents who had been
allowed back into their homes earlier in the week and again
restricted access to the affected area, on the east side of the city
of 16,000 residents. That was after emergency workers began reporting
they were experiencing rashes and diarrhea.
Later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that two
floodwater samples from Coffeyville showed the level of fecal
coliform bacteria was more than 130 times the standard. The bacteria
can cause stomachache, fever, vomiting and diarrhea, the agency said.
A cut or a wound at the point of contact with the bacteria can lead
to fever, redness and swelling, the EPA said.
"We have several concerns for the residents of Coffeyville," said
Sue Casteel, environmental scientist for the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry. "What we observed with people who
came in contact with oil at Katrina was they would develop rashes and
red flaky skin."
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