Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2,900 Gallons of Oily Water Removed from Oregon Barge

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard oversaw the removal of nearly 3,000 gallons of oily water from the bilges of a 1940s-era crane barge during a response last weekend at a site on the banks of the Columbia River near Goble, the USCG revealed May 15.

The removal of the oily water from the Amazon, a 170-foot crane barge, was a preemptive measure taken to prevent possible environmental damage to the Columbia River at a site currently being monitored by the Coast Guard and the Oregon Departments of Environmental Quality and State Lands.

Personnel from the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Incident Management Division opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to remove the oily water upon a recommendation from the Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team during a site assessment and hazard categorization visit on May 9 and 10.

Contractors pumped out 1,800 gallons of the oily-water mixture on May 12 and another 1,100 gallons on May 13 from bilges, ballast tanks, fuel tanks, aft and forward spaces, and above and below deck plates.

“The initial purpose of our site visit was to assess the need for future operations, however, it was quickly determined the Amazon posed a substantial threat of an oil discharge and required immediate action,” USCG Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Madjeska, chief, Incident Management Division Sector Columbia River, explained. “The vessel is in very poor material condition, and is slowly taking on water through open hatches.”

The barge Amazon is one of 26 vessels currently being assessed and monitored during the eviction process of Clay Jonak and Roger Ison, who lease the site on the Columbia from the Oregon Department of State Lands. The agency informed the two men of the lease termination in March. They have until May 30 to safely remove their property from the site.

The Coast Guard will oversee the cleanup of any remaining oil or hazardous material left on site after May 30.