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Group: Oregon Oil Spill much Worse

by Associated Press
Seattle Times - January 17, 2004

THE DALLES, Ore. -- About 75 gallons of oil leaked from The Dalles Dam, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said yesterday. But an environmental group contended the spill was far worse.

The oil leaked from a transformer at the dam Thursday, corps spokesman Matt Rabe said. He said a seal damaged during last week's frigid weather caused the leak.

Cleanup operations began immediately, Rabe said.

About 200 to 300 gallons of oil leaked from the transformer, but most remained in the unit, Rabe said.

Environmentalists, however, contended the spill was much larger than what the corps was reporting.

Greg deBruler of Columbia Riverkeepers said a 6,000-gallon tank had emptied into the river, while another leaked an undetermined amount, making it possible that up to 12,000 gallons had leaked into the Columbia.

He cited a source from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, but Michael Zollitsch, DEQ emergency response coordinator, said he didn't have any figures different from the ones released by the corps.

"Right now, I think it's anybody's guess as to how much has actually been spilled," Zollitsch said. "They won't know that until they determine the volume at the source and how much they have left once they have it all contained."

by Associated Press
Group: Oregon Oil Spill much Worse
Seattle Times, January 17, 2004

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