FOLLOWUP: White Center company takes responsibility for oil spill; 51 birds affected

(WSB photo from last weekend, as wildlife rescuers capture an oiled Canada goose)
One week after a neighbor noticed oil contaminating a stormwater-retention pond in White Center, the state Ecology Department announced that a food company has taken responsibility. La Mexicana says it was transporting oil that accidentally spilled and will pay the costs of cleanup and wildlife rehabilitation; 51 birds have been captured for cleaning and treatment, says the state, and one had to be euthanized. Full details of the state’s announcement are on our partner site White Center Now.

27 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: White Center company takes responsibility for oil spill; 51 birds affected"

  • Matt November 13, 2015 (4:32 pm)

    Glad the La Mexicana stepped up and took responsibility but seriously? How long did that take? Seems fishy since they took so long, IMO.

  • 4thGenWestSide November 13, 2015 (4:42 pm)

    Id like to hear the explanation about how they accidentally spilled it and why it took so long to come forward. Will give me an idea as to whether our family will ever support their establishment. Aren’t they the tortilla wholesaler? Assuming I’m not the only one.

  • mrsMarty November 13, 2015 (5:41 pm)

    I have 2 things to say about this:
    1st-I’m happy that La Mexicana admitted to the oil spill and they’re paying for the clean-up and maybe for whatever reason they didn’t now they did it.

    2nd- we all go on and on about “lets stick up for the small businesses here in WS” and how big corporations are killing them and making IT IMPOSSIBLE for them to survive here in WS because of whatever reasons…example the latest Ripple Cafe and now La Mexicana makes one mistake (yes a big one) but they are doing something about it and I’m sure they feel terrible about it and right off (4thGenWestSide) you want to chase them out of town by stopping your business with them!!!! to me that’s just as bad as the big Corps.

  • Oakley34 November 13, 2015 (5:51 pm)

    Read the article in the White Center blog link for the full details…

  • mrsMarty November 13, 2015 (6:10 pm)

    No I have 3 things to say about this…read what’s written on this subject on the WSB’s partner site WC Blog.

    And I for one will still do business with La Mexicana

  • anonyme November 13, 2015 (6:23 pm)

    An “accident” during transport would have left a street mess requiring immediate cleanup, wouldn’t it? I’m just not buying this excuse – especially since they didn’t seem at all eager about coming clean. How did the oil get into the pond?

  • flimflam November 13, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    so, how did the oil spill, accidentally?

    • WSB November 13, 2015 (7:00 pm)

      The info is all on our partner site White Center Now (not “blog”), linked above. Too much going on this afternoon to post the entire long Ecology news release here when it came out – same time we were covering flooded 35th here – so we decided to get it out there first and then link here when 35th was reopened. Or you can read it directly on Ecology’s website at: – thanks! – TR

  • miws November 13, 2015 (6:59 pm)

    Matt, 4thGen, and others; I wondered the same thing, but please check the WCN article that WSB linked to above. Many more details there.



  • Ray November 13, 2015 (7:26 pm)

    I live on 100th, and I walk my dog down 100th and around that pond at least once, most times twice, every day.

    I never saw any spill content anywhere on 100th (the street or surrounding area) at all around that location at any point in the last two weeks.

    I am not saying the company is lying, but I find that explanation hard to believe.

  • westseattledood November 13, 2015 (7:34 pm)

    The company needs to change its protocols for environmental hazards mitigation.

    It also should consider revising training of its employees to new procedures immediately so that the company has steps by which staff can report incidents immediately. If those protocols already exist, then La Mexicana will be a good neighbor to White Center by determining where the environmental protocols failed and not allowing it to happen again.

    That’s my two cents.

    Also, anybody official and authorized mention the frogs? What is the status of their backwater swamp to the north part of the pond?

    What? Nobody cares about amphibians here? Scaly, slimy, slithering critter lives matter too. It’s not all about fur and feathers out there in natural environments.

    Ray: Not that I know one way or the other, but you and anybody else who live nearby and think they see things differently…., Track down the Department of Ecology investigators and tell them, via official reporting, under official conditions.

    Not here on WSB.

    Good for you for being alert to the environment.

  • AJP November 13, 2015 (7:55 pm)

    Have any of you worked in a factory? Around forklifts? It’s very easy to puncture or rupture a barrel with a forklift or drop it too hard and split the side somewhat, and then not notice it for a while. It was clean oil, not used oil, so the company doesn’t have a reason to get rid of it illegally. Sheesh. They’re doing the right thing. I go there all the time to buy tortillas at wholesale prices warm off the press. Delicious.

  • Lisa November 13, 2015 (8:01 pm)

    Although I, like many, feel sick when we see wildlife covered in oil and other environmental implications of such incidents, I accept La Mexicana’s admission of fault and subsequent cleanup. I think it’s possible to be compassionate for a company’s mistake, while also holding them accountable. If there had been warnings, complaints or previous offenses, I wouldn’t be so understanding. Hopefully there has been a lesson learned. I won’t boycott La Mexicana as a result. I also hope that the wildlife/environment cleanup is a success. Should I hear any negative PR about the company in the future, I will definitely boycott.

  • Ray November 13, 2015 (8:08 pm)


    Your comment about the frogs is spot on. Most nights you can hear them up the hill where I live, regardless of the weather.

    The last week, it has been mostly silent.

    I would not be surprised to learn a huge swath of those died out, as I think it is too early for any of them to hibernate, for those species that do.

  • westseattledood November 13, 2015 (8:11 pm)

    That’s all well and good to know Ray. But, do go ahead and track down the Department of Ecology investigators….be change you want to see.

    Thanks again.

  • Ray November 13, 2015 (8:13 pm)

    Also, I did chat with Ecology earlier in the week during one of the walks(definitely before LM admitted fault). We mostly talked about the birds that were being cared for across the street at the park.

    I would be real interested to find out which drain the oil allegedly leaked into.

    The tortilla factory is in the middle of the block, directly across from the pond. I am having a hard time picturing how something exits a truck into a drain anywhere by that shop.

    Whatever. Ecology can make the same inferences I can based on location, so I can only guess they are giving them a pass in exchange for paying for the cleanup which at this point is all that can be done.

  • Dale November 13, 2015 (9:16 pm)

    Okay, this should be covered by a typical General Liability Policy. I doubt we would ever get full details on notice of loss, etc. Just the way it is working that side of it.

  • jetcitydude November 13, 2015 (11:20 pm)

    Too late for apologies, the damage has been done. The County should slap them with a hefty fine if they are negligent.

  • LB November 13, 2015 (11:50 pm)

    Looks like the company received a 2010 FDA letter based on some rather unsettling observations as well:

  • Neighbor November 14, 2015 (12:00 pm)

    Wow, after reading the above link my I will never eat another tortilla without having my stomach flip. Open sores, rat droppings, gross out.

  • M November 14, 2015 (2:48 pm)

    DOE is the CSI of things like this and were no doubt closing in on LM. So I suspect the confession was a financial decision rather an altruistic one, made in hopes of a reduction in the hefty fine that is no doubt headed their way.

  • Low Bridge November 14, 2015 (11:53 pm)

    Interesting that a stabbing last night 10 or so blocks north of where the oil was spilled sent someone to Harborview yet only garnered 4 comments but this is up to 22 and an outraged discussion of humanity, justice and responsibility.

  • ET November 15, 2015 (6:42 am)

    @ Low Bridge.. Spot-on observation. Sad.

    As for the above health dept report. You folks do realize that dates back 6 years, right?

    I’d sure hate to be in that companies shoes right now considering how blood thirsty half you folks seem to be. Shame on you.

  • unknown November 15, 2015 (8:25 am)

    Low Bridge and ET….EXACTLY on both of your observations on this, La Mexicana is taking care of their mistake and no one seems to care of a life disrupted by violence. :<(

  • Eric November 15, 2015 (7:47 pm)

    No surprise here. As soon as I heard about this, I knew it was one of these local restaurants

    • WSB November 15, 2015 (7:58 pm)

      It was NOT a local restaurant. La Mexicana is a manufacturer and is not identified here nor anywhere in the state information as a restaurant.

Sorry, comment time is over.