Oil Tank Fails, Spilling Oil into Sulphur Creek & Yakima River - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Oil Tank Fails, Spilling Oil into Sulphur Creek & Yakima River

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 YAKIMA, WA -The Department of Ecology says an above-ground storage tank near Sunnyside failed on  March 1st, sending as much as 1,500 gallons of used motor oil into Sulphur Creek  and the Yakima River. The spill created a sheen seen as far south as Prosser.

Department of Ecology spill responders Sunday afternoon deployed absorbent pads and protective boom at multiple locations, including about 900 feet upstream from the mouth of Sulphur Creek and at a fish hatchery on the Yakima River in Prosser.

The environmental cleanup company NRC  has been hired by Ecology and is using vacuum trucks to remove the remaining oil. Local, state and tribal officials are jointly responding to the incident.

The cause of the failure of the tank, which occurred at a former feed lot property, is still under investigation.  

Sulphur Creek is used as an irrigation return drain by the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District .


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has activated its oiled wildlife hotline where citizens may report birds or animals affected by the spill. There have been a few reports of oiled birds and geese as a result of the spill. The Yakima River provides habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife. Sulphur Creek drains into to the Yakima River near the Sunnyside Wildlife Area, where waterfowl are wintering. The area is also home to river otters, muskrats, beaver and other water-oriented mammals.

Oiled Wildlife Reporting Hotline:

The public may notify the Wildlife Branch of oiled wildlife observations by leaving a detailed message at 1-800-22BIRDS (1-800-222-4737) or email OiledWildlifeReporting@dfw.wa.gov.

Please describe how many animals were observed, the location of the animals observed, how much oil was observed on the animal, and whether or not the animal appeared mobile or incapacitated.  Reports received from the public will be routed to personnel in charge of searching for and recovering oiled wildlife. 

Volunteer Information:

We are not requesting volunteer assistance at this time.  In the event that volunteers are needed, a separate Public Service Announcement will be issued instructing the public as to available opportunities and how to register.

Members of the public are requested to stay away from oiled wildlife to minimize stress to the animals.  They should not attempt to capture any oiled wildlife; as such efforts could endanger the safety both of the public and the animals.  For more information, visit: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/community_outreach/oiled_wildlife.html, or send an email to oilwildlifevolunteers@ecy.wa.gov