Mr. White has served as chief consulting environmental engineer on over 25 oil spills (crude, gasoline, and diesel) in the Intermountain/Rocky Mountain regions of the U.S. In this capacity, he has provided oversight or direct involvement in assessing the extent and magnitude of impacts, designed methods to remediate those impacts, sampled impacted media to confirm the efficacy of remediation efforts, and interacted with regulatory agencies on behalf of the clients. Selected projects are summarized below.

Fresh-Water Reservoir in Northern Utah

Served as part of the client’s team in in response to a release of diesel fuel to a fresh-water reservoir in northern Utah. A cracked seam in an 8-inch diameter refined products pipeline released approximately 500 barrels of diesel into a stream channel and pond system that conveys storm water to Willard Bay, a man-made fresh-water reservoir situated along the east shore of the Great Salt Lake. Provided technical and engineering expertise during initial delineation of the spill boundaries; responsible for assessing impacts to groundwater; designed groundwater remediation methods; provided input on the design of several water control structures; reviewed mass balance calculations of released and recovered product; and interacted with State regulatory personnel and their subcontractors on behalf of the client.

Red Butte Creek Oil Spill

Served on the client’s emergency response team on a crude oil spill in the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City, Utah. The 800-barrel release originated from an 8-inch diameter pipeline that transports crude oil from western Colorado to refineries in the Salt Lake City area. The event occurred during a series of late spring thunderstorms in Salt Lake City that resulted in short-circuiting of an adjacent high voltage terminal, causing the pipeline to become a receptor of the electrical surge which melted a hole in the line. By the time the release was discovered and controls emplaced, the oil had traveled approximately 10 miles through Salt Lake City toward the Great Salt Lake before it was contained. Responsible for technical input on all EarthFax activities throughout the project, including design of initial response efforts, site assessments, design of remediation methods, and post-event sampling.

Specific tasks performed by Mr. White included:


Provided technical engineering and environmental expertise to the client and other subcontractors under the Unified Command system during the emergency response and remediation phases of the project.


Conducted multiple Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique surveys along the affected waterways to uniformly grade the magnitude of contamination and prioritize future cleanup activities.


Provided and reviewed design and construction inspection services for the restoration of the spill site, the impacted waterways, and adjacent properties.


Performed confirmation sampling during active remediation efforts and for approximately 5 years after the release to verify that human health and ecological risks in the affected area had been adequately mitigated.

2nd Crude Oil Spill in the Metropolitan Area of Salt Lake City, Utah

Served as part of the client’s emergency response team on a second crude oil spill in the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City, Utah. This 550-barrel spill occurred approximately 6 months after the above-noted release when a nearby block valve froze during extreme winter temperatures. Approximately 4 acres of land in an adjacent arboretum and amphitheater were affected. Responsible for overseeing initial assessments to delineate the extent of contamination; for designing controls to isolate the contamination during snowmelt; for verification sampling following excavation of the impacted soil; for providing technical advice on environmental, regulatory, and waste disposal matters; for directing excavation efforts; and for providing engineering support during restoration or replacement of impacted structures.

Soil Contamination on the Snake River Plain

Served as chief engineer to assess and remediate soil contamination due to leakage from a refined product pipeline in a remote location on the western Snake River Plain in south-central Idaho. Supervised assessment efforts, calculated the quantity of spilled hydrocarbons in the soil to compare with the client’s estimate of spilled product based on pipeline flow records, and designed a soil vapor extraction remediation system using multiple vertical vapor extraction points. Calculations confirmed that benzene emissions from the blowers would be below the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality emission rate standard, thus eliminating the need for surface treatment of the emissions. Supervised monitoring efforts during the cleanup process.

Wetland Area near Great Salt Lake

Served as part of the client’s emergency response team on the release of diesel fuel to a wetland area adjacent to the north shore of the Great Salt Lake. An estimated 100 barrels of diesel fuel were released through a pin-hole leak in an 8-inch diameter pipeline that conveys refined fuel products from Salt Lake City, Utah to Spokane, Washington, resulting in 22 acres of wetland and upland area being affected. Mr. White provided technical oversight or direct input on this project, including implementation of containment measures, delineating the extent and magnitude of contamination, evaluating remediation alternatives, managing remediation activities, documenting the work, and providing agency liaison. Two unique aspects of the project included responding to the release using low-impact methods (pack mules) to deploy containment booms in the sensitive wetlands and transitional wetland zones, and implementing controlled-burn activities as an acceptable remediation technology. Following completion of the controlled burn, Mr. White designed an approach to enhance bioremediation of the remaining hydrocarbon-impacted upland soil. Subsequent analyses confirmed that this approach was successful.

Underground Lateral Crude Line Leak

Provided technical oversight during assessment and remediation of soil impacted by the release of crude oil from a 3-inch diameter underground lateral crude line that ruptured in a remote area of eastern Utah. Released traveled down an ephemeral drainage for approximately 0.5 mile toward a regionally-important river. Supervised the design of methods to contain the release before it could impact the river. Designed a passive-aeration bioremediation cell, using wind-operated turbines, to remediate approximately 9,200 cubic yards of excavated soils in this remote area. Provided oversight during sampling activities and in the interpretation of the resulting data.

Crude Oil Spill near Drinking-Water Reservoir

Served as chief consulting environmental engineer at the site of a crude oil spill located near an important drinking-water reservoir in northern Utah. The release occurred when a contractor for a residential development company ripped through the pipeline with a dozer, breaking the line and releasing 700 barrels of oil onto the ground before the line was shut down. Provided oversight during delineation of the spill site boundary; identification of potential above- and below-ground receptors of concern; collection of numerous soil samples from the spill site as well as background water quality samples from the nearby reservoir; and performance of a geologic study to better understand potential subsurface pathways of migration and how they might affect response activities undertaken to protect surface and groundwater resources. Assisted in the design of a permitted temporary impacted-soil storage area at the base of the spill site.

Soil and Groundwater Contamination in Nigeria

Evaluated soil and groundwater contamination near the Trans Niger Pipeline in the Ogoniland region of Rivers State, Nigeria.  Spills from these facilities (occurring from deteriorated infrastructure as well as sabotage and crude-oil theft) had created significant environmental impacts in the region. This project included a review of soil and groundwater data collected by others from 9 areas that had been previously remediated.  It also included an evaluation of 133 groundwater samples collected from private wells used for domestic purposes near the pipeline.  These results of these analyses were compared with risk screening levels established by the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources. Prepared reports summarizing the results of the above comparison and provided recommendations for future efforts.

Oil spill - Nigeria2
Oil pill - Nigeria1

Sioux Tribe Environmental Assessment – Dakota Access Pipeline Project

Under contract to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Mr. White reviewed the final Environmental Assessment (“EA”), prepared on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, concerning crossings flow easements and Federal lands by the Dakota Access Pipeline Project. This review focused on issues presented in the EA regarding the occurrence and potential impacts of oil spills incident to construction and operation of the pipeline as well as the proposed measures presented in the EA to mitigate the impacts of those spills.