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Dumped oil flows down Price street, drains into river

The oil slick covers part of the street and coats dead leaves between 500 and 600 South Streets.

Sun Advocate associate editor

It wasn't in the same class as the Gulf Oil Spill or the Exxon Valdez disasters, but the five-block flow of oil down south 300 West Street in Price was enough to keep hazmat workers busy long into the night Tuesday.

The used motor oil - estimated at 50 to 100 gallons - was coursing down the gutter on the west side of the street and then disappeared into a storm drain at 600 South.

From there it followed the pipe into the Price River.

Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont said there had been an oil slick on the river last week, but at the time it had been considered to be runoff from city streets after the snowstorm.

The chief added that dumping oil into storm drains is a violation of both state and federal laws. It carries severe penalties.

Bedont said used oil can be taken to auto parts stores or auto maintenance shops to recycling, so there is no need for pouring it into drains.

County emergency services coordinator Jason Llewelyn said the spill was reported Tuesday by a school crossing guard who noticed that Creekview Elementary kids were walking through it.

The hazmat team deployed special oil-absorbent booms to halt the flow. A detergent was used to emulsify the oil for easier cleanup.

The oil was mostly contained to within a foot of the curb, but in some places where the channel was obstructed by leaves and twigs, the water-borne oil spread out into the street.

Price City workers used a vacuum truck to remove the oil from the storm drain.

Remediation efforts were finished by about 8 p.m., according to Price City Public Works Director Gary Sonntag.

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