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Columbia Oil Leak Now Estimated at 1,300 Gallons

by Associated Press
The Columbian, January 21, 2004

Federal officials now believe 1,300 gallons of light mineral oil leaked into the Columbia River after water-filled cooling pipes ruptured at The Dalles Dam last week.

Matt Rabe, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Washington and Oregon environmental regulators concurred with estimates from the corps and the Environmental Protection Agency putting the figure at 1,300 gallons. The corps initially reported the spill to be 75 gallons into the river from a transformer at The Dalles Dam.

The oil spread 44 miles downstream to Bonneville Dam, prompting cleanup crews to deploy more than 4,000 feet of booms across the mouths of creeks and streams.

"Most of the cleanup at the dam is complete, just a little bit of mopping up here and there," Rabe said.

Contractors with Portland-based NRC Environmental will continue to use the booms and absorbent pads to sop up the oil through the end of this week and possibly through the weekend, Rabe said. A small amount of oil escaped past Bonneville Dam, but Rabe said cleanup workers will focus their efforts above Bonneville.

The broken transformer at The Dalles is one of the last on the Columbia to use oil containing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which cause cancer.

Associated Press
Columbia Oil Leak Now Estimated at 1,300 Gallons
The Columbian, January 21, 2004

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