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Mar 7, 2015

04:00:20 GMT--Environment Pollution - North-America - USA

EDIS Number: ED-20150303-47177-USA

Date / time: 03/03/2015 04:21:25 [UTC]

Event: Environment Pollution

Area: North-America

Country: USA

State/County: State of Washington

Location: [Yakima Valley]

Number of Deads: N/A

Number of Injured: N/A

Number of Infected: N/A

Number of Missing: N/A

Number of Affected: N/A

Number of Evacuated: N/A

Damage level: N/A


The oil came out quickly on Sunday when a tank of used motor oil broke open, spilling 1,500 gallons into the Yakima River. "It wasn't a small spill, it was a pretty heavy flow coming down," said Orville Firestone. Orville is a farmer who lives near the Sulphur Creek where the majority of the oil is flowing. That flow was a slick of rainbow muck from a former feed lot. The amount of oil that spilled is roughly equivalent to what would fill a backyard pool. The oil is traveling into the Sulphur Creek and the Yakima River. So far, the oil has traveled as far as Prosser.

Orville is worried about the long-term impacts of the spill. "It could do quite a bit of damage," he said. Crews are using vacuums to suck up the oil before it drifts too far. They're also using absorbent pads and a protective boom. Cleanup by the Department of Ecology could take weeks. "It's dangerous to people and pets if you get near it. So we want people to stay away from that area," Dept. of Ecology spokesperson Joye Redfield-Wilder said. Protecting wildlife is a big concern. It's nesting time for waterfowl and fish are laying their eggs. "Any time oil hits the water it could harm the water, it could harm the critters, it can impact the irrigators who rely on the water for crops that are in the lower valley," Redfield-Wilder said. Ecology is still investigating how the tank broke and who may be responsible.

Event updates:

Situation Update No. 1 on 05.03.2015 at 04:00:01.

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