Boat Ramps Re-Closed As DEQ Tests Water Output Following Oil Spill

Mar 20, 2018

Oil spilled into the McKenzie River last week doesn’t appear to be at levels sufficient to harm wildlife or people. But as KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, some boat-ramps are being closed off again as testing continues.

A containment boom is removed by DEQ staff late last week. With testing of a cleaned pipe this week, booms have been put back and two boat ramps re-closed.
Credit Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality

UPDATE: Since this story aired, the DEQ has decided to keep all three boat ramps closed until further notice. An earlier version of this story said the Hendricks and Bellinger ramps would re-open March 21st.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) took and analyzed water samples near the spill site and further downstream.

Katherine Benenati of the DEQ says now crews are checking the cleanliness of a pipe that’s been cleaned and is now pumping water out at the rate of 3500 gallons a minute. 

Clean-up crews along the banks of the McKenzie.
Credit Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality

“Right now they’re not seeing any sheen either at that area or downstream," she says. "But again, we do have a boom in place that would contain any oily water in the event that it did come out.”

After a brief opening over the weekend, the Hendricks and Bellinger boat ramps were closed again Monday. Those and the Hayden Bridge boat ramp will remain closed until further notice.

200 gallons of oil from the International Paper mill spilled into the McKenzie on March 12th. An investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.