Chevron Cleaning Up Second Spill

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 @ 05:12 PM gHale


Chevron’s oil spill in the Salt Lake City area last week, which was two to three times larger than previously estimated, started from a faulty pipeline valve.
After two days of scraping, scooping and suctioning, crews have recovered all but a fraction of the crude that leaked.
The oil giant said its goal was to gather the remaining portion of the spill. Chevron officials said the cleanup was a bit easier because of the cold weather affecting the area.
Chevron still does not know how the leak started. Officials’ new estimates come in at as much as 500 barrels spilled. That is up from the 100 to 200 barrels first reported last Thursday.
In June, a spill from the same pipeline poured more than 800 barrels into nearby Red Butte Creek.
Investigators from the federal pipeline-safety office met with the state Department of Environmental Quality, the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, the Salt Lake City Fire Department, the city’s public utilities office, federal workplace safety officials and U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson to plan for the probe into why the pipeline leaked one more time.
At 500 barrels spilled, that would amount to 21,000 gallons, or about two-thirds the 33,600 gallons that spilled from a dime-sized rupture June 11-12, fouling Red Butte Creek, a neighborhood, a park’s pond and a stretch of the Jordan River.
Not only did the cold weather slow the latest spill’s progress, but a paved pathway provided a natural barrier while emergency crews built their own berms to contain the spill and prevent it from reaching Red Butte Creek.
City Public Utilities Director Jeff Niermeyer said the concrete containment box, housing the apparently faulty valve and still filled with toxic fumes, is close to being ready to allow investigators to begin their work. That would include removing the valve and analyzing it at a metals lab.
The cost of the June spill so far is $372,275 as cleanup continues.



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