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News / Clark County News

Bonneville Dam oil spill under investigation

The Columbian
Published: July 15, 2020, 6:40pm

Bonneville Dam released about 70 to 100 gallons of turbine oil into the Columbia River between July 6 and July 14, according to the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps shut down a turbine main unit, the suspected source of the oil spill, and an investigation is ongoing. The Army Corps has reported the spill to Columbia Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization, as required by a 2014 court settlement about similar oil spills from Columbia and Snake river dams, according to a Columbia Riverkeeper news release.

In 2014, Columbia Riverkeeper settled a lawsuit against the Army Corps to stop oil pollution from eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, including Bonneville, John Day, The Dalles, and McNary, Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite, according to the news release.

Columbia Riverkeeper said the oil spills occur on a routine basis at Columbia and Snake river dams, which the groups says include a series of oil spills at Lower Monumental Dam in 2017 that spilled over 1,600 gallons of oil into the Snake River.