Crews remove leaking barge
December 30, 2021
On Nov. 4, the US Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology were notified of localized oiled vegetation on the Deep River. After an initial investigation, it was determined that the oil originated from an abandoned barge measuring 15 by 40 feet, tied up to the shoreline near private property.
It is not clear when the barge was abandoned, and the owner of the barge has not been identified. The barge contained 1,600 gallons of heavy black oil. A unified command composed of Coast Guard and Ecology lead the response to this incident, working closely with other partner agencies, including Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
To keep the public safe and to facilitate the removal of the barge, the WDFW Oneida Water Access Area, including the boat launch, parking lots, and restrooms, have been closed to the public during removal operations from Dec. 8 -31. WDFW will reopen the water access area once operations are concluded. Notices will be posted at the access area.
On Dec.15, the barge was successfully floated into a cradle providing additional structural support and secondary containment for the oil. The barge and cradle were then floated down river to the boat launch and lifted from the water with a crane.
With the barge safely on shore, the remaining oil was removed, and the barge will be decontaminated and disposed of. The WDFW Oneida Water Access Area, including the boat launch, parking lots, and restrooms, is expected to be closed until Dec. 31.
Now that the barge is out of the water, the next phase of the response focuses on the assessment and removal of oiled shoreline vegetation. Additionally, Ecology has been conducting assessments of the sediments to determine the level of contamination from sinking or submerged oil. Based on lab analysis of the oil found on the barge, the oil does have the potential to sink and early sediment sampling has shown the presence of oil. Plans have been developed to support this work. An Incident Webpage has been created and will be updated as response operations evolve. Updates will also be posted to Twitter @USCGPacificNW and @ecysw. As a reminder, an Incident Webpage has been created and will be updated as response operations evolve.