Hundreds of gallons of oil spill into Milwaukie creek

The oil spill happened after a drum containing 350 gallons of oil ruptured during a fire Oct. 12 and leaked into a nearby storm drain.

MILWAUKIE, Ore. — A cleanup effort is underway after an oil spill dumped 350 gallons of oil into Kellogg Creek and Kellogg Lake in Milwaukie. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) are working to contain the spill and rescue any impacted wildlife. An oil containment boom — a temporary floating barrier — and absorbents have been deployed on the lake and river to contain and capture the oil. 

One duck was rescued covered in oil; another duck that was rescued died. Ray Hoy, the acting state-on-scene coordinator for the Oregon DEQ, said officials have seen at least a half dozen other wildlife that had been oiled. 

“We’re partnering with ODFW and they have wildlife biologists that are actively doing some recon on the lake,” said Hoy. “When they do see them, they try to contain and collect them. However, birds fly and move about pretty quickly, so they’re difficult to catch.”

The spill was first reported on Oct. 13, a day after a fire at D&C Motor Company’s service shop on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard. Someone was seen on camera outside the service shop near the fire, a spokesperson for Clackamas Fire said. The fire has not been ruled arson, but is being investigated by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. 

The fire damaged five cars and ruptured the oil drum. That oil washed down into a storm drain, then into a catch basin, eventually making its way to Kellogg Creek.

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“Oil is a contaminant, so it has chemicals that are toxic to fish and wildlife overall. The good thing about oil is that it floats on the water. It’s easier to collect than other types of chemicals and contaminants.” said Hoy. “In this case on Kellogg Creek, we’re booming the lake and the creek, and that basically creates a collection point. Once we have a collection point, we can mop it up and clean it up.”

“No amount of oil is good,” said Neil Schulman, executive director for the nonprofit North Clackamas Watersheds Council

He said spills like these should be preventable in the future.

“We need to upgrade our storm water infrastructure. We have a lot more people living in the area than we did before. That means there’s a lot more buildings, a lot more cars on the road. There’s a lot more opportunity for spills, both big and small,” said Schulman. 

Hoy said DEQ should be finished cleaning up the spill within a few days. 

Read More:Hundreds of gallons of oil spill into Milwaukie creek

2021-10-26 01:21:00

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