CEDAR CITY – A U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer reported to personnel of the Dixie National Forest on March 23 a possible oil leak that impacted a pond at one of the Citation Oil well sites during his patrol of the area the previous weekend. The Dixie National Forest is currently working with Citation Oil on a clean-up plan for the leak.
On March 24, Forest personnel went to the oil field to investigate the report, according to a Dixie National Forest press release. In talking with the local Citation Oil representatives, it was determined that during November 2013, an undetermined amount of oil was released during a repair of a valve on well unit 11.
The replacement of the valve allowed the oil that was in a section of pipe to be released. The oil made its way under the snow to a pond that was directly downhill from the release.
On several occasions since the release, Citation Oil personnel ignited and burned off the oil that had gathered on top of the pond and around the edges. This was done to reduce the amount of surface oil and prevent the leak from migrating further. This practice is allowed under the operation plan for the oil field.
The preliminary investigation has found no evidence that the oil traveled beyond the pond into the ephemeral drainage. The Dixie National Forest is recommending that the water be removed from the pond and disposed of properly as soon as possible. The Forest Service is also recommending that the oil residues and contaminated soil be removed from the pond and the adjacent area.
Citation Oil has pledged to cooperate fully with the Forest Service to clean up this release, and cleanup efforts have already begun. Citation has also hired an independent contractor to assess the situation.
This fluid release is on Forest Service land and is not connected to the recently reported leak on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the Little Valley Wash.
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