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SALT LAKE CITY -- Residents in one Salt Lake City neighborhood not far from Red Butte Creek say they're worried about oil sheen they've found in water running through their property.
Despite the family's concerns, Salt Lake City's top water official told KSL it's highly unlikely that sheen is connected to the Chevron spill in Red Butte Creek. Still, he says the source of that sheen is a mystery.
It's probably a little bit too early for this particular spill to be showing up in spring sources.
–Jeff Niermeyer, director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities
The Parkin family first noticed the oil sheen on water that flows through their backyard about a year and a half ago. Several neighbors, too, found a similar sheen in water in their yards.
Concern rose last month when a broken Chevron pipe spilled thousands of gallons of oil into nearby Red Butte Creek.
"I'd like to find out if this is coming from Red Butte, from the springs and the spill, and if it is how we can get it cleaned up as soon as possible so we feel safe here," said Taylor Parkin. "If it's not, we'd like to know where it's coming from so we can also feel safe."
As parents of a toddler Taylor and Holly Parkin say they'd like to get those questions answered soon.
"Obviously, health concerns. We don't want him to be exposed to anything toxic," Holly Parkin said. "He obviously can't play off the deck. We can't grow anything in our yard now because I don't want to grow anything in oil."
The Parkins live in the block just west of East High near 1100 East and 900 South, a few blocks from of Red Butte Creek. They wonder if a now-closed gas station on 1300 East could have had leaky underground tanks.
The city's top water official says the source is unclear.
"A bit of a mystery, particularly the timing," said Jeff Niermeyer, director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities.
Niermeyer says a number of springs flow through the neighborhood, water migrating down from the foothills. But he says it would take months or years for water contaminated with Red Butte oil to move to the springs.
"It's probably a little bit too early for this particular spill to be showing up in spring sources," he said. "But it's interesting to note that they are seeing a sheen, and we'll want to keep investigating that."
"We would love to see what exactly is causing it and have it fixed," Taylor Parkin said.
The city says it plans to take samples from the springs in the neighborhood and do some testing to see if they can pinpoint the origin of that sheen on the water.
A Chevron spokesman agreed with the city's assessment and says the company welcomes those tests.