Overview: At approximately 0900 Pacific Daylight Time on 3
November 2022, EPA was notified by Idaho Department of Environmental Quality of
a sheen they were investigating on Pocatello Creek, a tributary to the Portneuf
River, in Pocatello, Idaho. The source of the sheen was unknown but suspected
to be an unreported release from a facility within the stormwater catchment
area that discharges to Pocatello Creek. IDEQ requested EPA assistance with the
response and investigation.
State, Local and other
Federal Agency Actions: Late in
the afternoon of 2 November, Pocatello Fire and IDEQ responded to reports of a
sheen on Pocatello Creek. Pocatello Fire placed a sorbent boom in Pocatello
Creek near the confluence with the Portneuf River and began investigating
potential sources upgradient. Heavier sheen was observed in a manhole near a
facility that handles transformer oils. Due to darkness and an inability to
locate a facility manager, the investigation was suspended for the evening.
EPA Actions: This incident is EPA jurisdiction. OSCs
Vanderboom and Ball are responding at the request of IDEQ.
EPA OSCs arrived on scene at about 1700 local time, 3 November. Upon
arrival, it became apparent that a significant amount of clear mineral oil was
released with product observed throughout the storm drain system and in
Pocatello Creek. Oil is ¼ to ½ inch thick on the creek in places. Contact was
made with the suspected responsible party, Virginia Transformer, but they have
been unable to hire a cleanup contractor. OSCs Ball and Vanderboom worked with
local responders throughout the evening to set several lines of containment
boom in Pocatello Creek. EPA mobilized both technical assistance (START) and
cleanup contractor support (ERRS) which began arriving on scene early on 4
November 2022. Rain is predicted over the coming days, so crews are setting
additional containment booms in Pocatello Creek and the Portneuf River.
Collection/recovery operations will commence as soon as those resources arrive