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Health, Science & Environment

Assessment of Red Butte Oil Spill Challenged

Monday, August 13th is the deadline for public comments on the Utah Division of Water Quality's assessments of the crude oil spill in Red Butte Creek.  The spill occurred two years ago when an electrical short-circuit burned a hole in the pipeline carrying crude oil and spilled more than 50,000 gallons into the creek.

I%20think%20if%20they%27re%20going%20to%20say%20that%20the%20source%20of%20what%27s%20in%20here%20cannot%20be%20put%20on%20the%20oil%20spill%2C%20then%20they%20need%20to%20prove%20that.%22%20Peter%20Hayes

Chevron spent millions on the cleanup following the spill.  The division's human health risk and ecological risk assessments say the water quality in Red Butte Creek is now similar to other creeks in Salt Lake County that also carry urban runoff.

Peter Hayes, who owns property along the creek near 9th South, says there are still pockets of crude oil and volatile fumes along the creek, and he says the cleanup isn't done yet.

Hayes tells KUER, "Chevron will look to this paper and say, 'Hey, we cleaned this thing up.  We're good.'  But I think the assumptions made in the human health risk assessment are poor.  I don't think this urban creek is like any of the other urban creeks.  And I think if they're going to say that the source of what's in here cannot be put on the oil spill, then they need to prove that."

Hayes and more than 60 other property owners have filed a lawsuit against Chevron, charging that their health and their property have been damaged by the spill.  Last month, Chevron asked a federal court to dismiss the case.

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