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Official: Oil leaking from Keswick Dam 'not a big deal'

Published On: Feb 19 2014 08:30:33 PM CST
Keswick Dam
REDDING, Calif. -

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking for an investigation into a small oil leak at Keswick Dam.

Inspectors from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board were at Keswick Dam Wednesday morning, following up on an anonymous complaint to the EPA.

The complaint said oil was leaking into the Sacramento River from Keswick Dam.

That complaint turned out to be true.

The power plant has a system designed to contain oils draining from the plant, with an oil/water separator within the sump to recover any oil in the drainage water.

Bureau of Reclamation Manager Don Reck said trace amounts of oil that had moved out of the drainage sump into the stilling basin leaked into the river.

“As a temporary measure, we have installed a small oil containment boom to collect any traces of oil discharged from the sump. We are actively working on collecting any oil in the sump,” Reck said.

More than one absorbent boom was put in place to soak up oil that might be layering the surface of the water.

“In my opinion, we don’t want to be releasing any oil into the river, whether on purpose or by accident, but in terms of volume, I would have to say that in my opinion it is not a big deal at all,” Reck said.

Reck also said the equipment has been drastically improved.

Clint Snyder, the assistant executive officer on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, said their team didn’t see any oil in Wednesday morning’s inspection, but the investigation will likely take six to eight months to complete.