If you drove by Hendricks Bridge County Park today, you might’ve seen emergency crews wading out in the McKenzie River with containment booms. Rest assured though, this was not an actual fuel spill.
Rather, it’s a spill drill. A few dozen personnel from agencies like EWEB and the Region 2 HAZMAT team were responding to a hypothetical accident: the spilling of a thousand gallons of fuel into the McKenzie.
“Because this is Eugene’s sole source of drinking water, we really want to make sure that we’re on top of things," said Karl Morgenstern, EWEB’s Watershed Restoration Program Manager.
"And that we rehearse this over and over again so that when it does happen, we’re efficient and able to work together as a team.”
The drill helps those in the McKenzie Watershed Emergency Response System prepare for an actual spill, such as one in March 2018 where a Springfield paper company leaked a thousand gallons of fuel into the river. The Oregon DEQ would later fine International Paper nearly $21,000 for the spill.
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