Final recovered birds released after White Center retention pond cooking oil spill


The Washington State Department of Ecology says that it has “closed the books” on wildlife recovery for birds affected by an Oct. 30 cooking oil spill in a retention pond in White Center, with the release of the last group of five birds on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

A total of 80 ducks and geese completed the bird care process, and cleanup of the pond affected by the spill finished Nov. 17.

As with all of the wildfowl releases, Focus Wildlife transported the Canada geese from the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood to a park in White Center, a short distance from the stormwater pond, Ecology said.

Here are the final counts from the oiled wildlife recovery and treatment effort:

  • 84 live birds admitted into care
  • 38 Canada geese
  • 46 mallard ducks
  • 42 ducks released
  • 38 geese released

Sadly, there were four duck mortalities: two were euthanized due to injuries, and two died in care.

This brings the response phase to a close. The first report of the spill – later determined to have occurred on Oct. 30 – came on Nov. 6, making 33 days of response activity.

As we previously reported, La Mexicana, Inc., accepted responsibility for the accidental spill of salad oil on Oct. 30 (read more here). Ecology investigators verified that the spill occurred at one of the food products producer’s facilities. By law, costs for spill cleanup and wildlife response fall to the party responsible for the spill.

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