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Chevron: Cause of fuel leak near Willard Bay unknown

By Keith McCord | Posted - Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:41pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Chevron officials said they don't yet know what caused a diesel pipeline to rupture near Willard Bay earlier this week, spilling fuel into Willard Creek.

Word from both Chevron and EPA officials is that water samples taken from Willard Bay remain clean.

"At this point in time, we haven't seen any visible sheens out of the Willard Bay Reservoir, and we'll continue to do all the work we can at the site," said Chevron spokesman John Duhon.

There are about 50 people still on site, Duhon said, working primarily in an area right next to I-15. That's where the 8-inch line broke Monday night.

At this point, Chevron officials have no idea why the line broke, but they did say it was constructed in 1950. Still, Duhon assured reporters the pipeline is inspected often.

The diesel fuel is in a collection area away from the bay. As of Wednesday morning, officials said workers using absorbent booms and vacuum trucks had been able to recover 195 barrels of diesel — that's slightly more than 8,000 gallons. As to the total amount spilled, officials don't have any solid numbers yet.

"The approximate area of impact is about 7 acres, but we can't really estimate what the release volume is," Duhon said.

The 168-mile pipeline, which carries diesel fuel from Chevron's refinery in Salt Lake City to Burley, Idaho, remained shut down Wednesday. In full working order, the line has the capacity of transporting 20,000 to 30,000 barrels of fuel a day.

Chevron officials said they don't know when the pipeline will be repaired or how long it will take.

"We all want to learn what caused this incident, and we will use whatever resources possible to understand what caused this ... to make sure it doesn't happen again," Duhon said.

Deena Loyola, spokeswoman for the Utah State Parks department, said the north end of Willard Bay and the campground there will stay closed for the immediate future.


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