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21,000 Gallons of Oil Spilled After Pipeline Ruptures in Utah

Jun 14, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

An oil pipeline leak in Utah over the weekend spilled about around 21,000 gallons of oil into the Jordan River outside of Salt Lake City. Fortunately, the spill was contained before it could reach the Great Salt Lake.

According to the Associated Press, the leak began on Friday evening when an underground Chevron pipeline near the University of Utah burst open. The pipeline carries crude oil from western Colorado to a refinery near the Salt Lake City International Airport.

The pipeline wasn’t shut off until Saturday morning, after a nearby Veterans Administration building smelled oil and called the Salt Lake City fire department.

While the spill spared the Great Salt Lake, an important water body for migratory birds, wildlife in Butte Creek and at a large pond at Liberty Park were not as fortunate. About 300 birds were coated in oil and cleaned at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. Fewer than 10 have died, the Associated Press said. The spill also threatens a Utah fish called a June sucker, which has been listed as an endangered species since 1986.

According to the Associated Press, some homeowners also had their yards fouled by the oil spill. Homeowners were warned not to attempt their own cleanup, but to file a claim with Chevron, which has accepted responsibility for the spill.

According to ABC4.com, residents with questions about the spill have been invited to a town hall meeting tonight at 7:00pm at Clayton Middle School in Salt Lake City. Chevron executives and other officials will answer questions and address health, environmental, and wildlife concerns.

It’s still not known what caused the pipeline to burst. Chevron had investigators at the scene of the leak Sunday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also brought in a U.S. Coast Guard water recovery expert to assist with cleanup effort.


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