Families evacuated after the rupture of a carbon dioxide pipeline Saturday evening in Yazoo County, Mississippi, are being allowed to return to their homes, authorities said.
Nearly 50 people living near the tiny village of Sartartia arrived at area hospitals with symptoms blamed on the release. Almost 300 people within a ¼-mile radius of the rupture evacuated the area at the request of the Yazoo County Emergency Management Agency.
The 24-inch pressurized pipeline transported carbon dioxide used in drilling operations. At least one regional television station reported that the release also included hydrogen sulfide, a toxic and flammable compound that carries the characteristic odor of rotten eggs.
Denbury Resources, owner of the pipeline, said the leak was first detected at 7 p.m.
“The affected area of the pipeline was isolated within minutes, and the leak site was evacuated as a precaution,” the release states. “Denbury has been working closely with state and local officials in the response and evacuation, which is Denbury’s top priority.”
Environmental specialists escorted people back to their homes Sunday morning, conducting an inspection of each home prior to occupancy.
An initial investigation suggests that the ground around the pipeline collapsed into a ravine, rupturing the line.