Pipeline spill near bird refuge leaked more than originally thought

Posted: Mar 27, 2013

Written by

Associated Press/GW
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

A Chevron Corp. pipeline that spilled diesel fuel last week near a northern Utah bird refuge may have leaked up to 27,000 gallons, much more than originally thought, authorities said.

The pipeline, which runs from Salt Lake City to Spokane, Wash., is presumed to have spilled fuel into soil and marshes near the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Willard Bay State Park.

The Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration initiated a corrective action order against Chevron Pipe Line Co. that compels it to attain government authorization prior to reopening the pipeline.

Preliminary reports said the spill could have resulted in up to 6,000 gallons of spilled diesel; Chevron later altered that number to about 8,100 gallons. As of Friday night, emergency crews had removed more than 21,000 gallons of fuel, and up to 6,500 gallons of spilled fuel still exists in the area. Chevron officials said new spillage estimates would be released this afternoon.

Willard Bay contains nearly 10,000 freshwater acres and is home to fish and wildlife. There have been reports of minimal harm to wildlife thus far.

The incident -- the exact cause of which remains uncertain -- marks Chevron's third leak in Utah in three years.

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