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Crews clean up mineral oil spill in Pocatello Creek

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - After mineral oil, which is commonly used in transformers, leaked from a rail oil tanker car on Nov. 2, crews have been hard at work removing the oil from the Pocatello Creek before it enters the Portneuf River.

Currently, the spill is fully contained allowing the Environmental Protection Agency clean-up crew to focus their efforts on the removal and recovery of the oil.

EPA's On-scene Coordinator for Region 10, Stephen Ball, says while the site of the source is confirmed the cause for the leak is still unknown, "In terms of the cause, we are looking into that as well as other agencies, and so that is under investigation."

He says they are using a variety of methods to remove the oil.

"We're using mechanical means to remove the oil from Pocatello Creek as well as flushing techniques, which the weather is actually helping us with now. So, the way flushing works is use high volume, low flow water to float the oil in areas where it's trapped. It floats up, flows downstream to where we're ready to collect it, and then we collect it at that point," Ball said.

With the spill fully contained, they will continue to remove the oil. Ball says, "In terms of timing, we will definitely be working through the weekend and into next week. Beyond that I don't have an estimate yet."

Until the material is removed from the water, Pacific Recycling Trail will remain closed.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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