WILLARD, Box Elder County — Cleanup crews have recovered about 400 barrels of fuel from Willard Bay's wetlands after a fuel leak in a pipeline, but Chevron estimates it could take another month to remove the remaining fuel.
On March 18, an estimated 600 barrels of diesel fuel spilled into the wetlands of Willard Bay State Park due to a pipeline failure. A beaver dam helped contain the spill, but covered a family of six beavers in fuel. The spill closed the north section of the park initially, but only the north marina remains closed.
"We're deeply sorry that this happened. This is not anything that we ever want to have happen," said Chevron Spokesman Greg Hardy.
Since the cleanup efforts began, Chevron has removed about 400 barrels of fuel, with about 70 to go. The company is working with the state and federal government to clean up with sand and restore the area.
Tuesday, water quality scientists detected elevated levels of contaminants in the groundwater seeping toward Willard Bay. Crews will remove contaminated sand and soil and rebuild the area.
By the numbers
- The cleanup operations cost $500,000 a day
- More than 160 employees and contractors are on-site
- 400 barrels of oil have been recovered so far
- 70 barrels remain in the bay
"Groundwater monitoring wells are being installed and we'll be interested to see what the results of those are. We're also looking at soils," said Walt Baker of the Division of Water Quality.
Yards downstream from where the fuel leaked, workers have removed contaminated brush and soil. Nearby, crews have installed filters in the waterway to clean the water.
"They're absorbent material, so they can absorb any remaining hydrocarbons that may be in the water," Hardy said.
Chevron says the cleanup could continue through May.