First Advisor

Scott A. Wells

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type



Civil and Environmental Engineering




Oil spills -- Risk assessment -- Columbia River -- Mathematical models, Oil spills -- Risk assessment -- Oregon -- Willamette River -- Mathematical models, Oil spills -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon, Earthquake hazard analysis -- Oregon, Oil pollution of rivers harbors etc -- Oregon




The Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub in Northwest Portland, OR spans a six-mile stretch of the Lower Willamette River and stores 90% of Oregon’s liquid fuel supply and 100% of the jet fuel for PDX. The CEI Hub is also built entirely on liquefiable soils which are likely to fail during a Cascadia earthquake event. The purpose of this project was to model a liquid fuel spill in the Lower Willamette and Columbia Rivers using the CE-QUAL-W2 model. Several scenarios were developed to account for different environmental conditions, (e.g., high and low discharge years) and varying spill durations (e.g., rapid or prolonged). Fuel concentrations were analyzed near Portland and the downstream towns of St. Helens and Rainier, OR to assess potential impacts of a liquid fuel spill on communities along the affected rivers. Further water quality analysis using EPA standards was performed for Rainier since the town relies on Columbia River surface water as a drinking water source. Model limitations and refinements were also discussed for future fuel spill analysis on this river system.


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A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Departmental Honors in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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