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Cleanup of fuel spill at Willard Bay continues

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-11 00:11:31-04

WILLARD BAY, Utah - More than three weeks after 27,500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled near Willard Bay, Chevron is giving the public its first look at the ongoing cleanup effort.

The spill was discovered on Monday, March 18, after an 8-inch pipe broke, pouring thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into a marsh near Willard Bay.

Initially, a beaver dam prevented the spread of the fuel into the bay itself, and Chevron says booms have been added to prevent the fuel from leaking into the bay now.

Chevron allowed media to tour the area of the spill on Wednesday to show what they've been doing to clean up since the spill.

"What we were highlighting today along with agencies is all the work that's been done since the beginning of the spill to show the areas were impacted and then what we have done to remediate those areas," said Greg Hardy, public affairs manager for Chevron.

Initially, a beaver dam prevented the spread of the fuel into the bay itself, and Chevron says booms have been added to prevent the fuel from leaking into the bay now.

Health officials say that despite those booms, fuel has contaminated the groundwater in the area, but Chevron denies those claims.

"No, not outside the booms, inside the booms are traces of hydrocarbons in some of that area. As the director was saying none of that was found outside the area," Hardy said.

Chevron says they've cleaned nearly all of the gallons of spilled fuel.

"408 barrels have been recovered. There are less than 70 barrels remaining, and as we pointed out in our tour today, a portion of that we believe is in our beach area," Hardy said. "We've got more than 140 people working out here on a daily basis and we're going twenty-four-seven with a smaller crew in the evenings. But the work we've done with the state and federal agencies addressing the immediate clean up. We're working now on restoration plans going forward."

The spill is the third major oil spill in Utah for Chevron in the last three years.

"We're deeply sorry this has happened. This is not anything we ever want to have happen," Hardy said.

The North Marina at Willard Bay State Park remains closed three weeks later, something park officials say will be a big economic hit, particularly on Memorial Day weekend. Additionally, the six beavers whose dam prevented the spread of the spill into Willard Bay are now in recovery, some in critical condition.