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Salt Lake City sadly joins the oil spill club

Posted Jun 23 2010 9:43pm

You don’t have to live in the Mississippi Delta to experience the ill effects of petroleum use.  Today it was discovered that a Chevron pipeline in Salt Lake City had ruptured, leaking oil at a rate of 50 gallons/minute for 9 hours.  This spill has soiled much of the Red Butte area and effectively closed down Liberty Park.   We in Salt Lake are fortunate in that this accident / disaster? does not affect our livelihoods significantly as it does those who live in the Gulf.
Dan Morris Photography - Oil spill 1

Oil Sheen in water at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

This spill was much worse than I anticipated when I approached Liberty Park from my house (just 250m away).  Most of the geese had already been rounded up and taken up to Hogle Zoo for cleaning.  I approached the shore where several workers were using a skimmer to collect the thick oil sludge from the surface of the lake.  The smell of petroleum was so strong that for a moment, I actually wondered if my camera might create a spark that would set off an explosion…
Female mallard covered in oil, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Female mallard covered in oil, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Things I found most surprising – and concerning, were the lack of a well prepared response and the lax security.  I was able to walk up to the edge of the water with no difficulties.  There seemed to be a lot of people (I’m sure well-intentioned) just milling around the area.  Somehow, I thought a spill of this size would have warranted a larger, more prominent state government response.

We live in a petroleum based world.  Perhaps it is time for us all to rethink what price we are willing to pay for our cheap gas and nice plastics?

Dan Morris Photography - salt lake city oil spill

Chevron employee interviewed by local tv crew after oil spill, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Clean up worker, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Clean up worker, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Oil dripping down embankment after manual cleanup, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Oil dripping down embankment after manual cleanup, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Oil Sheen in water at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Oil Sheen in water at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Clean up workers in Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Clean up workers in Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Oil slick is apparent in Liberty Park Pond, Salt Lake City

Oil slick is apparent in Liberty Park Pond, Salt Lake City

Chevron cleanup truck, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Chevron cleanup truck, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Oil Sheen in water at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Oil Sheen in water at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

A link to the full story on the Salt Lake Tribune can be found here .

About the author: Dan Morris Photography has shot for clients all over the globe, including ESPN , Disney , TIME and more. Our work has appeared in TIME , Outside , National Geographic Adventure , The Guardian and Details Magazines , to name a few. Visit the Dan Morris Photography website.

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