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Chevron hit with more bills for Utah oil leak

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July 16, 2010 05:24 PM EST | AP


SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County has billed Chevron Corp. more than $53,000 for the government response after a pipeline leaked crude oil into Red Butte Creek last month.

The county says it expects to demand more money from the oil company because it's still monitoring health hazards and caring for birds caught in the oil spill. The county's first bill covers expenses through June 24.

For its part, Salt Lake City has billed Chevron almost $125,000 for the first 48 hours of response to the June 12 leak.

Chevron has said it will pay all legitimate bills. On Thursday, it donated $10,000 to Utah's Hogle Zoo and provided lunch for zoo workers and volunteers. The zoo scrubbed 280 birds of oil in the days after the pipeline leak.

The zoo's effort took 900 collective hours, 250 hazardous-materials suits, 3,500 rubber gloves, 67 bottles of dishwashing liquid and almost 10,000 gallons of water.

Chevron believes the 33,000-gallon oil spill was caused by a short in a power line that traveled through a utility fence post to melt a hole in the pipe's casing.

The Utah Water Quality Board cited Chevron on Tuesday for fouling city waterways.

Much of the crude oil pooled into a pond at the city's Liberty Park and regulators say oil traveled downstream into the Jordan River.

Chevron was cited for unauthorized release of a pollutant, releasing an "offensive" waste and violating water quality standards.

Regulators have said they will decide fines later.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com