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Crews Work To Clean Up Yakima River Oil Spill

Emergency crews are responding to a 1,500-gallon oil spill in Central Washington’s Yakima River.

The used motor oil has threatened wildlife since it escaped Sunday from an above-ground storage tank at the site of a former feedlot. The heavy oil flowed across a paved area and into an irrigation ditch, known as Sulphur Creek, which drains into the Yakima River. An oil sheen flowed as south as Prosser, about 25 miles away.

Cleanup crews on Sunday placed protective boom and absorbent pads along the waterways. An environmental cleanup company now is using vacuum trucks to remove the oil. Joye Redfield-Wilder, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology, said cleanup could take a week or more.

She said the amount of oil spilled is concerning.

“We do know that there are some geese and ducks that have been oiled. I don’t know how many,” Redfield-Wilder said.

Officials are also concerned about resident fish and a hatchery that is upstream of the spill.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the storage tank to leak.

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<p>Used motor oil has threatened wildlife since it escaped Sunday from an above-ground storage tank at the site of a former feedlot.</p>
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Used motor oil has threatened wildlife since it escaped Sunday from an above-ground storage tank at the site of a former feedlot.

Courtney Flatt