Preparing for an oil spill - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Preparing for an oil spill

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RICHLAND, Wash--  Peaceful as it looks, the Columbia River is the center of our local marine life and helps drive our local economy.  That's why the Department of Ecology needs to be ready for a potential oil spill.  More importantly, they need to know how to clean it up quickly.  On Friday, Ecology leaders set up a mock drill.

In the drill, we're told 75,000 gallons of oil have spilled into the Columbia River and we want to examine the damage it has on marine life.  On land we're able to examine the impact of the oil through state of the art tools. 

"We deal with small spills on a daily basis and fortunately we haven't had a large spill in a number of years," explains Ron Holcomb with the Department of Ecology.

But Ecology isn't slowing down.  They've signed up to help in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We're on a list with other states for possibly sending people down to the Gulf depending on how the spill plays out," Holcomb adds.

And leaders say it's only a matter of time before we see another major oil spill here in Washington.