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Oil leak near Green River contained

Published May 22, 2014 10:33 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An oil leak from a well near the town of Green River in southeast Utah was contained Thursday afternoon, the Bureau of Land Management said.

The agency said it was informed Wednesday morning by SW Energy and the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining of the leaking oil well in the Salt Wash field south of Interstate 70, approximately 12 miles southeast of Green River, on BLM land.

Beth Ransel, BLM field manager in Moab, said the leak was initially reported to the agency as a seep but later reached a flow of 80 to 100 barrels an hour. It is not believed the oil reached the river, she said, and the BLM was still assessing how much oil leaked on Thursday.

SW Energy, a small Utah company, contracted with an emergency spill response company, which worked through the night putting up containment and back up berms to slow and capture the fluid, according to the BLM. Vacuum trucks removed much of the fluid, which was taken to a disposal facility at Danish Flats.

Repairs to a failed valve were completed Thursday afternoon, the BLM said. Environmental Protection Agency specialists also assisted in the containment and cleanup effort.

Juan Palma, BLM-Utah state director, said the agency "is taking this matter very seriously."

"We were able to catch this incident and act quickly to contain the leak and minimize the potential impact to the environment," Palma said.

Stephen Bloch, legal director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said the state, the federal government and the oil industry need to "do all they can do to ensure these accidents don't happen."

"If there aren't resources to accomplish that," Bloch said. "we need to consider turning off the tap."


Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC




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