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Up to 3,800 gallons of light crude oil spills into Corpus Christi Bay from cracked pipeline

The spill, in the La Quinta Channel, happened over the holiday weekend, according to the Coast Guard.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi pollution responders are monitoring an oil spill in the La Quinta Channel in Corpus Christi Bay.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard said around 3,800 gallons of light crude oil spilled into the water from a cracked pipeline near the Flint Hills Ingleside facility over the holiday weekend. 

A safety zone has been set up "to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards created by product released in the water," officials with the USCG said. The zone is outlined in red in the below image. 

Coast Guard marine scientist Stephen McConnell said he has been on the scene since the incident and told 3NEWS what he thought happened to the pipe.

"Right now we are still investigating it, but it would seem that a pipe did rupture in three different places because of the light crude oil and water mixture," McConnell said. "It probably froze and expanded that pipe in those sections." 

Flint Hill Director of Public Affairs Andy Saenz told 3NEWS that oil response teams immediately jumped into action to clean up the spill.

"All I know is we got a call that there was sheen in the water and immediately we started investigating and then moved into action to remediate," Saenz said.

McConnell said that he believes the spill should be completely cleaned up by Tuesday.

"No wildlife have been reported oiled," McConnell said. "The main spill happened around Pier 5, and the bulk of that has all been cleaned up right now. There's just a tiny light sheen but the bulk of the product that was the heaviest has been cleaned up."

Flint Hills said it is paying for the cleanup, and will then begin its investigation into how the oil spilled out into the La Quinta Channel to start with.  

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