OR Oil Spill Reaches River

Monday, January 29, 2018 @ 04:01 PM gHale

Crews are mopping up an oil spill that made its way into the Willamette River in North Portland, OR, Jan. 22, officials said.

Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded to a report of an oil spill from Union Pacific Railroad’s Albina Yard around 8 p.m. Jan. 22.

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The railyard is located on North River Street, near the east end of the Fremont Bridge.

The source of the leak was a tank sitting on the ground, said Levi Read, a spokesman for the Coast Guard. The oil leaked from the tank into a storm drain and into the Willamette River, he said.

Union Pacific responded quickly, Read said, deploying its own hazardous materials team and contacting authorities.

In a lucky move, the oil leaking into the river ended up contained by a boom the EPA had placed in the area beforehand for a separate project, he said.

It’s unclear how much oil has seeped from the container, but crews started cleanup quickly, plugging the storm drain, pumping contaminated water from the river and deploying absorbent pads and booms to the area.

Read did not know how long cleanup would take, but officials suggested the public to avoid the area.

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