09-22-1994: Conoco owned pipeline begins to leak Aviation fuel into the O'Day Branch Creek & Kim Ryba's property.
4 AM, Robert Ryba leaves for work and smell petroleum fumes.
6 PM, Neighbors call complaining about petroleum odor & oil sheen collecting on metal surfaces.
10:25 pm, Kim Ryba calls Wentzville fire department to complain about odor.
11:00, Fire Department arrives at Kim Rybas farm. Oily mist begins to collect on fireman’s glasses.
11:15, Fire Department discovers petroleum substance flowing down O'Day Branch & warns Kim Ryba to evacuate horses from nearby barn.
11:20, Fire Department discovers "Substantial leak" from 10" pipeline owned by Conoco Pipeline Corporation. Appropriate notifications are made to Conoco, EPA MDNR & St. Charles County Spill response Team.
09-23-1994: 1:45 AM, Conoco Area Supervisor arrives at Spill Location.
3:00 AM, Conoco notifies the National Spill Response Center (Spill Report No 94-0-0127) as required by law.
Conoco claims less than "1000 gallons spilled" from pipeline. First fish die off begins.
09-26-1994: Second leak is discovered in adjacent soy bean field as workers replace corroded pipeline.
Clean up attempts, interesting facts and odd happenings:
Aug 23 though Sept 2 1994: pipeline replacement & first remediation attempt of creek. 38,000 gallons of fuel & water are removed from creek. Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) monitors clean up & fish kill. Conoco's hired laboratory claims the creek is now clean.
09-04-1994: Kim Ryba complains for the first time the O'Day Branch is still contaminated with Aviation Fuel.
10-20-1994: MDNR returns to creek, views remaining Aviation fuel contamination.
10-21-1994: Conoco replies to EPA request that 50-100 barrels leaked from pipeline. Conoco informs DOT that 50-100 barrels were spilled but quickly changes the figure to 966 gallons.
10-25-1994: Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) declares Conoco was telling the truth as to the size of their spill. OPS is a division of DOT.
11-29-1994 - 01-17-1995: Second remediation attempt to clean the creek. More fish die. Conoco claims the creek is now clean. (again)
01-23-1995: EPA sends investigator to O'Day Branch, because of complaints that creek is still contaminated.
03-06-1995: Kim Ryba’s pet Labrador Retriever dies of throat cancer, due to exposure to creek.
04-11-1995: Laboratory hired by Conoco concludes the creek is clean. (again)
06-1995: Laboratory hired by Conoco concludes creek is clean. (again)
07-1995: Conoco submits letter to MDNR, stating that 43 barrels of Aviation fuel leaked out of pipeline & 42 barrels were recovered (One barrel equals 40 gallons). Only one barrel remains in gravel. Conoco also states that leak began at the exact moment the fire department reported the spill.
07-23-95: Assistant Attorney General of Missouri threatens to have Kim Ryba arrested for polluting adjacent wildlife area. Kim Ryba would not allow Conoco access to her land for further remediation until Conoco releases pipeline shipment records (Batch records). Kim Ryba relents.
07-26-1995: EPA closes investigation. Concludes Conoco was truthful in reporting 966 gallons spilled.
08-28-1995 - 09-05-1995: 3rd, 4th & 5th clean up attempts. More fish die offs begin. Conoco claims the creek is now clean. (again)
10-22-1995: Conoco provides "Batch Records" of leak to DNR. Batch records indicate that 63,924 gallons were missing from pipeline shipment! Math calculations using pressure, time & size of hole, concludes over 30,000 gallons of Aviation Fuel spilled from pipeline into O'Day!
12-1-1995: Conoco offers Kim Ryba a check for $20,000 if she agrees the creek is clean!
05-26-1995: MDNR sends Conoco a request that DNR be present at all future tests completed by the oil company. No longer trust Conoco test results?
08-1996: sixth clean up attempt. Conoco claims creek is clean. (again)
02-10-1996: Local MDNR sends letter to OPS asking for assistance. Letter states that calculations from Conoco Batch records indicate 37,000 gallons of Aviation fuel spilled into O'Day Branch. OPS ignores request.
10-31-1997: Laboratory hired by Conoco states only small area of creek remains contaminated.
07-1998: seventh clean up attempt. Conoco claims creek is clean. (again)
08-1998: MDNR in Jefferson City orders it's investigation closed, claiming creek is clean.
Note: investigation is shut down from instructions from MDNR leadership.
11-25-1998: MDNR, issues a "No Further Action" to Conoco, because the creek is clean.
11-2000: Professional Hydrologist hired by Kim Ryba, reviews calculates that 13,250 to 15,704 gallons of Aviation Fuel still remain under the gravel bed in the O'Day Branch Creek.
11-11-2000: Court makes Conoco pay Kim Ryba $100,000 because of O'Day Branch pipeline leak.
01-03-2001: EPA Criminal Investigation Divisions (CID) concludes Conoco is telling the truth that only 966 gallons spilled.
08-23-2001: Private Laboratory hired by Kim Ryba, performs tests & concludes the O'Day Branch is contaminated by petroleum products. These tests were performed to demonstrate to the MDNR that the creek was still contaminated.
10-2001: EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center (NEIC) concludes Conoco is telling the truth as to the size of the spill!!!
04-15-2002: EPA Inspector General concludes it's investigators were telling the truth when they agreed with Conoco that only spilled 966 gallons.
08-17-2002: Private Laboratory hired by Kim Ryba concludes that stream is still contaminated, & in some places petroleum hydrocarbon levels are 3000 times higher than allowed by law!
08-23-2002: Laboratory hired by Conoco, & MDNR both conclude the creek is clean.
10-11-2003: New laboratory information sent to Office of Director of EPA, Christine Todd Whitman & Governor of Missouri.
02-20-2003: Justice Department declares DNR & EPA representatives did not conspire to hide the size of the O'Day Branch Pipeline leak.
08-03-2003: EPA, MDNR, Conoco & contractors gather in O'Day Branch to plan final clean up.
09-18-2003: EPA offers “unofficial” apology to Kim Ryba, “someone has lied”.
08-15-2003: DOT summons OPS Director to Washington DC to "explain" Conoco Batch Records issues & lack of action.
11-23-2003: Local television reporter shows actual MDNR Complaint letter to OPS that complains Conoco spilled 37,000 gallons into creek.
02-07-2004: final clean up delayed because of letter shown on Television & bad pr for MDNR.
03-26-2004: DOT drops investigation into Conoco, MDNR & local EPA agents for "lack of evidence".
Final Clean up
06-10-2004: Conoco-Phillips agrees to pay $2,000.00 to Kim Ryba for use of her land during final clean up.
07-12 & 13 2004:
Conoco removes 48 dump truck loads of contaminated soil & gravel.
Note: this amount was removed After ten years of normal seasonal flooding of the O’Day. The Oil Company still sticks to it’s spill release figure of 966 gallons spilled from pipeline and only one barrel remained in the creek after their first remediation attempt!
The O'Day Branch Creek is now clean of Aviation Jet Fuel.