As Water Samples Analyzed, Crews Monitor Oil Spill Site Along McKenzie River

Mar 15, 2018

Crews with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are on-site along the McKenzie River, following Monday’s oil spill from International Paper’s Springfield mill. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, access to three boat ramps remain closed until further notice.

Buoys and a containment boom mark a site at the Hayden Bridge boat ramp where crews are trying to contain and analyze any oil that spilled from the International Paper mill in Springfield Monday.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

BRIAN BULL STANDUP: “I’m standing here at the Hayden Bridge Boat Ramp, where buoys are in place, and I can see a containment boom 50, 60 yards down from the boat ramp. 

Workers with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and industrial clean-up services company Clean Harbors gather near the Hayden Bridge boat-ramp. The ramp is off-limits until further notice, while containment and monitoring efforts continue.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

"There are some employees with the DEQ monitoring the situation. Again it’s an 8-mile stretch that people have been warned against, from here at Hayden Bridge all the way to Armitage Park in Eugene.”

“We haven’t decided on any potential enforcement action at this point,” says the DEQ’s Katherine Benenati.  She tells KLCC that her agency is analyzing water samples taken from where 200 gallons of hydraulic oil from the International Paper mill spilled into the McKenzie, and further downstream.

A barricade tells local residents that the Hayden Bridge boat ramp - as well as two others along the McKenzie River - are closed until further notice.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“To see if they’re at levels that are higher than what we’d want and allow in the river. We are also evaluating how to clean that pipe, and what to do with the water that’s in it, currently.”

Benenati says they may get results Friday. An EWEB official says the spill hasn’t affected drinking water.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.