Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Huffington Post--Utah Oil Spill 500 Barrels Spill Into Red Butte Creek After Pipeline Breaks

First Posted: 06-13-10 12:34 AM. Updated: 06-13-10 02:55 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP)— A leaked pipeline sent oil spilling into a Salt Lake City creek, coating geese and ducks and closing a park, officials said Saturday as they started a cleanup effort expected to last weeks.

At least 400 to 500 barrels of oil spewed into Red Butte Creek before crews capped the leak site. Nearly 50 gallons of crude oil per minute initially had spilled into the creek, according to Scott Freitag, a Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman.

"Our real concern is keeping people safe, and keeping the oil from reaching the Great Salt Lake," he told the Deseret News.

Chevron determined the pipeline broke at 10 p.m. Friday, and police and fire crews were notified of it shortly before 7 am. Saturday.

Officials were unsure of the cause of the leak, near the University of Utah campus, or the extent of the spill's environmental impact. Mayor Ralph Becker said drinking water for residents was not affected.

"Our fire teams have capped the site and will work to determine the damage and the best course of action," the mayor said in a statement.

The state Division of Water Quality was onsite assessing damage and will issue a violation notice against Chevron, Gov. Gary Herbert said in a release. The governor said he was monitoring the spill, which he called "devastating."

Chevron spokesman Mark Sullivan said some residual oil was still leaking and the cleanup likely will take "weeks."

"We're taking full responsibility for any financial damage, environmental damage, safety concerns, impacts on health and cleanup," Sullivan told the Salt Lake Tribune.
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