GREEN RIVER — Workers continue to clean up a pipeline break that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil earlier this month in southwest Wyoming’s Bridger Valley.
The oil spill occurred April 5 near Robertson in southwest Uinta County, according to Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality officials. The pipeline is owned by Bridger Lake LLC of Louisiana.
DEQ emergency response coordinator Joe Hunter estimated that about 2,000 barrels (84,000 gallons) of oil spilled onto the ground before workers located and plugged the leak.
“Right after they found the leak, they shut the line in, and at that point no more (oil) goes into the line,” Hunter said.
Hunter said the company reported the leak in a “timely manner” and that its cleanup response has been good.
“After the cleanup is done, we’ll evaluate the causes and the cleanup actions and we’ll go forward from there,” he said.
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Hunter said an oil fire broke out and burned for a short while on April 10 during cleanup work, pouring black smoke into the valley skyline.
“A spark came off a piece of equipment and caused the blaze in a catch basin” workers had dug as part of the containment effort, he said.
Two environmental cleanup companies have been working for more than a week, he said. The oil-contaminated soil will be stockpiled on site and then disposed of, according to cleanup plans.
Hunter said some of the oil leaked into an irrigation ditch, but none of it “got into any live waters.” He said pressure in a corroded segment of the pipeline is believed to have led to the break in the line.
“The company is doing a good job and they’ve got the right people in there for this cleanup ... we’re pretty happy the way the cleanup is progressing,” he said.
Contact Jeff Gearino at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-875-5369.