Utah regulators have cited Chevron Corp. for a pipeline leak that sent 33, 000 gallons of crude oil into Salt Lake City’s Red Butte Creek last month, the Associated Press reported.
Much of the oil collected in a pond at the city’s Liberty Park and, according to regulators, oil traveled downstream into the Jordan River.
The Utah Water Quality Board issued citations to Chevron on Tuesday due to unauthorized release of a pollutant, releasing an “offensive” waste and violating water quality standards.
Regulators are waiting for Chevron’s response before deciding whether to hit the company with fines that could start at $10,000 a day for as long as the waterways were polluted, said Walt Baker, director of the Utah Division of Water Quality, who was scheduled to meet with Chevron officials Thursday. Violations can reach $25,000 a day for pollution discharges that are willful or the result of gross negligence, he said.
Chevron spokesman Dan Johnson said the company had no comment on the citations. “We received the violations and will study them,” he told the Associated Press.
Salt Lake City’s Fire Department notified Chevron of the leak at 6 a.m. June 12. The pipeline, which delivers crude oil from Rangley, Colo., to Chevron’s Salt Lake City refinery, was leaking residual amounts of oil until the morning of June 13. Chevron resumed operation of the pipeline on June 21 after a successful pressure test on a 14-mile section.
Chevron reported that the leak was caused by a short in a power line that traveled through a utility fence post to melt a hole in the pipe’s casing.
Cleanup crews were set to flush Red Butte Creek for a second time Thursday to filter any residual oil with absorbent booms. Water was set to be released from a reservoir east of Salt Lake City. ”We’re working on hand-washing the river,” Johnson said.