(DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala.) - The U.S. Coast Guard and ExxonMobil have been investigating a leak bubbling up from a pipeline and sheen on the water's surface off Dauphin Island. Thursday, officials confirmed the all-clear. The leak was not natural gas after all. Officials say it was sea water coming from a sub-sea pipe.
As a relaxing sea breeze blows in, Bill Brown sits by the mouth of Mobile Bay and enjoys his novel. He's been reading by the water on the east end of Dauphin Island the past few mornings and says he hasn't smelled anything that would cause alarm.
"Someone said something about a gas leak, but I have haven't smelt anything," said Brown.
While Brown hasn't, others have.
"We have had some indication from our staff that have been monitoring on the coast line, that there has been some what of a diesel smell on and off," said Dauphin Island Police Sgt. Anthony LaFrenier.
Tuesday night, Dauphin Island officials were told there was a potential natural gas leak offshore. The Coast Guard says bubbles coming from sub-sea pipes and the subsequent sheen spotted in the water prompted the warning.
"The area in question where there was bubbling had four pipelines bundled together," said LTJG Jessie Harms.
As ExxonMobil worked to find out which line was leaking, officials monitored the air and made sure harmful chemicals, like H2S weren't present.
"If someone is exposed to H2S at a lower dose, they would become nauseous and sick. It can be more dangerous and possibly lethal," said LaFrenier.
ExxonMobil confirmed Thursday, it was not the natural gas line leaking. Instead, it was a water line. As a precaution, crews deployed boom around the area.
"That water has trace hydrocarbons as well as other chemicals that come up with it," said Harms.
ExxonMobil says it is still investigating why the leak occurred.