On January 1, 2018, the Oregon Emergency Response System was notified of a release of heating oil to an unnamed tributary of Mission Creek in St. Paul, OR. The St. Paul Rural Fire Protection District initially responded to the spill, and traced the release through the stormwater system back to a leaking, 8000 gal UST at the St. Paul Elementary School. When the fire department was tracking down the source of the release, nearby residents said they had been smelling fuel since mid-December. Subsequently, the school district hired a response contractor to remove the underground storage tank and conduct product recovery and cleanup at the UST site. Approximately 1,000 gallons of red-dye-heating oil (diesel) was estimated to have been discharged from the tank. Oil flowed through an adjacent storm sewer pipe and then through an outfall into an unnamed creek, which flows to Mission Creek and the Mission Creek Reservoir. Over 1400 feet of storm sewer pipe was contaminated, and oil was found along 1100 feet of the creek. During cleanup activities, the school district ran out of funds to conduct the cleanup at the site and in the creek. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) then took over removal and cleanup activities of the site, and has been coordinating with the St. Paul School District.
In early February, the oil sheen was observed at the confluence of the unnamed creek and Mission Creek, which ultimately flows to the Willamette River. On March 3, 2018, due to the school district's lack of funds available for the cleanup in offsite areas, ODEQ contacted EPA and requested assistance via a Pollution Removal Funding Authorization (PRFA). The FOSC has since opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) and issued a PRFA to ODEQ for response and removal activities at the site. ODEQ will be utilizing PRFA funding for stormsewer and creek cleanup, but will be using their own Orphan Site Program funds for cleanup at the elementary school.