A crane barge and other large equipment have arrived in Astoria to start removing a pier and a fuel tank that’s leaking oil.
The pier deconstruction will lead to the eventual removal of the boiler oil tank located underneath the collapsing dilapidated pier next to the hotel.
Oil spill responders from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Washington Department of Ecology, National Response Corporation Environmental Services and Global Diving and Salvage contractors have been on scene and responding since the oil spill was reported.
The majority of response to date has consisted of oil containment, marina and boat cleaning, environmental impact assessments, ordering and gathering response equipment and identifying a method to safely access the tank. More resources have been ordered to aid in oil collection efforts.
During operations Saturday, the tank released an increased amount of oil product into the water that remained mostly within the containment boomed area. A vacuum truck and two skimmers began removing the oil from the site Saturday, which have collected 1,500 gallons of oily water mixture.
“The safe and efficient response by federal, state and contractor personnel has overcome several obstacles beyond their control,” said Cmdr. Sean Cashell, response department head, Sector Columbia River. “Obstacles include a nine-foot high-tidal shift, strong river currents and an unconfirmed source of product beneath crumbling concrete structures. All of which impacts operator safety around the spill site and will impact the operations of the crane barge.”
The maximum potential of the spill is still 4,200 gallons, but it is still unknown how much oil product has been released from the 20 foot by 6 foot mid 1900s era oil tank.
The pier was once home to a seafood cannery that was a large employer for Astoria residents in the early 1900s.
A Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment small boat transported a Seaside Aquarium wildlife expert to conduct a wildlife assessment in the vicinity of Desdemona Sands Sunday morning. To this point there has been no reported impact to wildlife.
An aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sector Columbia River conducted an overflight of the impacted area also Sunday morning and discovered only trace sheening outside the containment area.
Souce: US Coast Guard