• Oil spill pollutes Deschutes River, Capitol Lake

    By: Shelby Miller

    Updated:

    TUMWATER, Wash. - Oil continues to pollute waterways in Thurston County weeks after a spill that started at the old Olympia Brewing Company building.

    Crews ripped out the sidewalk and a small section of roadway on Boston Street SW to test for chemicals in the soil. 

    “This really takes a big effect on our area,” said resident Lorenzo Villalobos. 

    The Department of Ecology found out about the spill Feb. 25. Workers are taking an aggressive approach because there's PCBs in the oil.

    "It can be very unhealthy, it can cause things like liver damage,” said Department of Ecology Supervisor Alison Meyers. 

    The spill traveled down the Deschutes River and into Capitol Lake. The oil is from a transformer, broken during a recent copper wire theft. 

    People who live in the area know the old Olympia Brewing Company building has history. It's been vacant since 2003, broken into multiple times and went up in flames in October. 

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    “This was a booming place for many years,” said Villalobos. “If it could revitalize itself as what it was before, I'm all for it."

    City officials also want to give the 1 million square-foot property a facelift.

    "We've laid out a pretty broad agenda with what people can do with the redevelopment that range from residential to hotel to restaurants, retail, conference space and, certainly, brewing, distilling and cidermaking, which are an important part of what's happening in Tumwater,” said Tumwater City Administrator John Doan. 

    To start, the city is working with the building's owner to improve safety and security. The owner also has to foot the bill for the oil spill cleanup.

    "Right now, there is still some contamination, so there will be additional excavation and then we will retest to make sure it's clean,” said Meyers. 

    The Department of Ecology said they’re not sure how much longer they’ll be at the site. They plan to continue working until tests come back clean.

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