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Broken Pipeline Spills Crude Oil

Dan Bammes KUER
A technician samples water contaminated with crude oil in Liberty Park

By Dan Bammes

Salt Lake City, UT –

A pipeline that carries crude oil from western Colorado and eastern Utah ruptured Friday night and spilled hundreds of barrels of oil into a creek that runs right through the middle of Salt Lake City. The 10-inch pipeline may have been gushing oil into Red Butte Creek for several hours before the leak was reported at 7:42 a.m. Saturday. By that time as much as 500 barrels of oil may have spilled into the creek. Salt Lake City has closed Liberty Park while crews work to contain the spill in a flood-control pond. They're hoping to stop the contamination before it reaches the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake. Chevron operates the pipeline, and it's promised to clean up the mess and pay for the damage. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker promised to make sure they do.

"We expect those responsible for the break, and this is a Chevron pipeline, to assume full responsibility for helping us, as they have been doing in terms of the immediate response, for addressing the cleanup and for being responsible financially for the full cost of the operation to make sure our community's protected," Becker told a news conference Saturday afternoon.

Residents along the creek on Salt Lake City's east side say the smell of the oil has made them sick, and they're worried about pets and wildlife living in the area. The cause of the break hasn't been determined.

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