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Rawlins Field Office
Release Date: 05/31/11
Contacts: Serena Baker,    

BLM Urges Caution on Teton Reservoir

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Rawlins Field Office (RFO) reports an oil spill has occurred at a collection site near the Bridger Pass Road contaminating a section of Emigrant Creek, upstream from Teton Reservoir.

BLM was notified of the spill Sunday by a concerned citizen. The spill is located along State Road 71/Carbon County Road 401, approximately 15 miles south of Rawlins, and five miles upstream from Teton Reservoir. Teton Reservoir is a popular camping, boating, swimming, and fishing spot.

Investigation reveals up to four months ago, an undetermined amount of crude oil was released into the watershed when a heater treater pop-off on a Nadel & Gussman (N&G) tank battery ruptured. A heater treater heats the fluid flowing from an oil well to separate the water from the oil, which is then diverted to different holding tanks. N&G has been cited for failure to report the spill and further action is pending. The company has voluntarily shutdown the well. Due to warmer weather, additional snowmelt, and increased recreation, the spill is now more apparent.

BLM and Carbon County Fire Hazardous Materials Teams have deployed containment booms called “socks” at three separate locations along the streambed to soak up the oil sheen. BLM specialists have walked the waterway both above and below Teton Reservoir and found the heaviest contamination on Emigrant Creek. BLM is regularly monitoring the situation.

BLM collected water samples from Emigrant Creek and Teton Reservoir which are currently being tested. At present, fishing is still permitted on Teton Reservoir.

Emigrant Creek flows into the Little Sage Creek, which is a designated drinking water source for the Continental Divide Historic Trail. There is no evidence contamination has traveled upstream on the Little Sage Creek above the confluence of the two waterways.

For more information, contact Hazmat Coordinator Mike Newberry, 307-328-4247.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Rawlins Field Office   1300 North Third      Rawlins, WY 82301  

Last updated: 05-31-2011