Tomorrow marks the third week anniversary of the Salt Lake City Oil Spill. On Friday, June 11th, around 10 pm, a pipeline owned by Chevron, ruptured; allowing a leak of up to 50,000 gallons of oil into the Red Butte Creek.
The oil spread through the creek, into Liberty Park Pond, the Jordan River and slight traces were found in the Great Salt Lake. Saturday morning, June 12th, the staff and residents of the Veteran’s Administration Hospital discovered the spill as they watched oil spread in the creek. Chevron had the pipeline 99% contained within 45 minutes.
A natural phenomenon may be the cause of the oil spill. An eclectically charged arc from a post near the pipeline caused the oil to release from the hole in the pipe. Questions as to the monitoring and alarm systems and their deficiency in relaying the spill to the main artery of the pipeline is under investigation. Chevron has been on top of the crisis and has taken full financial, medical and ecological responsibility.
As promised, Chevron has been accepting invoices for damage incurred during the tragedy. Thus far, $125,000 has been documented in damages and will be reimbursed. This is one of 40 claims filed so far. Many more are expected to accumulate.
A body, unidentified, was retrieved from, the bank of the Red Butte Creek. Preliminary forensics reports indicate the body had been in the water for months. The badly decomposed corpse was thought to belong to a transient. The body may have been forced out of its hiding place when water was forced from the dam to push the oil through the stream and into absorbent booms.
Considering the amount of damage the spill could have cost the state in health, eco-systems, economic issues, flora and fauna, contamination of migratory sites and conservatories – the misfortune appears to be on the mend. The consequences, as bad as they were, could have been considerably worse.
The silver lining to the crisis is considerable
1. Chevron contained the leak within an hour after its discovery.
2. Because the monitoring and alarm system failed – investigation and revamped systems are on their way to improve the overall system.
3. The number of water fowl affected was a disastrous 150 birds, but the number could have reached the thousands.
4. The tributaries of the Jordan River stayed relatively clear.
5. The wetlands and migratory spots were touched slightly, not to the mammoth proportions originally thought.
6. Chevron has kept to all of their immediate promises.
7. The Great Salt Lake was minutely affected – with no known long term affects.
Salt Lake Tribune