PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2019 

Chants of a different sort greet U.S. Rep. Omar upon her return home to Minnesota. Also on our Friday rundown: A new report says gunshot survivors need more outreach, support. Plus, sharing climate-change perspectives in Charlotte.

Daily Newscasts

Oil Spills Aren’t Confined to the Gulf

July 6, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. - The giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is getting all the attention, but the National Academy of Sciences says little oil spills also can add up to big problems for the environment. The academy estimates that every decade, more than 300 million gallons of oil leak from vehicles or are dumped illegally.

For years, Oregon has had a public awareness campaign and collection system to recycle used oil. Ben Benninghoff, municipal storm-water program coordinator with the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ), says it's all too easy to pour oil onto the ground or into a storm drain without considering the consequences.

"As these sorts of pollutants wash off the roadways or are directly discharged into storm-sewer systems, they do reach the waterway and affect the wildlife and the fish - everything from the food cycle and the food web to reproduction."

Many Oregon communities accept oil as part of their curbside recycling programs, Benninghoff notes, and in other towns, it can be taken to transfer stations. He warns there are hefty penalties for disposing of it in other ways. Starting this month, Oregon has added paint to the list of recyclable products.

Becky Wehrman, an environmental compliance consultant, says waste oil can be burned as a heat source or recycled into a number of other products, but it does no one any good if it ends up on the ground or in the sewer system.

"Oil doesn't break down. So any time oil is spilled in the environment, there is the potential that all of it could leach into the groundwater. Oil can permeate through the soil and get down to the ground water fairly easily."

Wehrman says in rural areas, some people still use their old oil for weed control, which can contaminate well water - a complicated and expensive problem to fix.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR