Oil well "capped" and no longer leaking

A resident watches an oil well burning in the Cove Road area of Anderson County on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008.
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OLIVER SPRINGS, Tenn (WVLT) -- An oil well in Oliver Springs
has finally been "capped" and shut down, according to an EPA spokesperson.

Sherryl Carbonado says crews used a procedure called "stabbing" in which a valve is put over the top of the shaft and the well is shut down and sealed.

The well was "capped" around 6:00 p.m. Carbonado says there are no oil or natural gas leaks from the well as of 6:30 p.m. EPA crews are monitoring the air, and hope to have residents returned to their homes for good by 7:30 p.m.

It's been a busy day around the well.

Around 4:30 p.m. the EPA once again advised residents near Oliver Springs to evacuate their homes as there is once again a risk of fire or explosion.

It has to do with the process by which the oil well fire was extinguished earlier today, according to Carbonaro.

The EPA now says drilling mud was not used to fill the shaft of the oil well, thus extinguishing the fire around 11:00 a.m.

Instead, Carbonado says, another process was used to hold the gas down. But with that process, comes concern abount vapor levels of the natural gas in the area.

As a precaution, the EPA advised residents in the nearby Cove Road area to once again evacuate their homes. Carbonado says the evacuation order is not mandatory, but sheriff's deputies are going door-to-door in the area giving residents the latest information.

Carbonado says residents were allowed to return home this morning as the fire was extinguished, but once the capping process began, any that left, were not allowed to return home.

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