DEQ Fines International Paper For Oil Spill Into McKenzie River

Sep 5, 2018

A hydraulic oil spill into the McKenzie River last March has earned a paper company a $20,000 fine. KLCC’s Brian Bull has more.

The McKenzie River near Hayden Bridge, after the International Paper hydraulic oil spill in March.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says on March 13th, International Paper’s Springfield facility suffered a broken line. While most of the estimated 1,000 gallons of oil ended up in wastewater lagoons at the plant, nearly 100 gallons did spill into the McKenzie.

Katherine Benenati of the DEQ breaks down the fine.

“$14,400 of that was for the spill itself, and there was a $6,400 penalty for a delay in reporting that release," explains Benenati. "There were no documented impacts to fish or other wildlife, we did take that into account when considering the fine.”

International Paper did not respond to KLCC’s question as to why it took more than five hours to report the spill.  But in a statement attributed to Springfield manager Doug Black, the company apologizes for the incident, and says systems are in place to keep it from happening again.

International Paper has until September 19th to appeal the fine.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.