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The spill reportedly occurred on the property of Columbia Northwest Recycling.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Water flows into a catch basin on Taylor Way.A reported spill of asphalt oil on two properties just south of Highway 47 in Forest Grove brought crews out from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Clean Water Services and the Forest Grove Engineering Department to investigate and clean up Wednesday, Jan. 10.

The DEQ believes the spill occurred late on Tuesday, Jan. 9, according to Laura Gleim, a department spokeswoman. David Warner, a spokesman for the Forest Grove School District, said staff noticed an oily substance at their bus barn at 2701 Taylor Way the following day, which appeared to be coming from a neighboring property.

Gleim said most of the spill occurred on the property of Columbia Northwest Recycling, although there was some spillover at the bus barn property.

Clean Water Services spokesman Mark Jockers said the "oily sheen" was seen as far east as a stormwater catch basin on Taylor Way. Clean Water Services, which handles water quality investigations in the Tualatin River watershed, deployed oil booms to contain the spill.

"We placed booms around that catch basin yesterday and … began the investigation of what it was," said Jockers on Thursday, Jan. 11.

The DEQ believes 20 to 30 gallons of what Gleim described as "residual" asphalt oil inside an old tanker spilled, Gleim said. The spill was contained Wednesday, with some cleanup work continuing into Thursday.

Jockers said workers at the scene Thursday morning did not see any evidence that the oily sheen had spread to nearby waterways, although he noted that all local storm drains will eventually drain into a wetland or stream.

Gleim said the property-owner has hired a contractor to address the issue, with DEQ continuing to oversee the process.

"There will likely be some kind of enforcement action, but because we're still investigating, we're unsure exactly what it will be at this time," Gleim said.

Columbia Northwest Recycling declined to provide additional information on the incident when reached by phone Thursday.

Incidents like this one are not uncommon, Jockers indicated. He said about 25 water quality investigations are conducted by Clean Water Services every year in which some sort of "illicit discharge" is discovered.

Stephanie Haugen contributed to this report.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from a Forest Grove School District spokesman.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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