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Spill Cleanup Under Way at Valdez Marine Terminal

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By The Maritime Executive 04-23-2020 09:55:54

Cleanup crews are making good progress in responding to a small crude oil leak at Port Valdez, Alaska, according to state officials.

On April 12, an oily sheen was reported near the Valdez Marine Terminal's Berth 4, prompting a pollution control response. Officials have determined that the source of the pollution was a mixture of oil and water flowing downhill from an overflowing drain sump at the Valdez Marine Terminal. Testing indicates that the sump was the only source and that all oil piping in the area is intact.

Responders used a vacuum truck to remove the oily mixture from the sump, and engineers and surveyors are focused on finding the flow path, which runs under a layer of snow from the sump to the terminal's small boat harbor. The outflow location at the water's edge has been found, leaving the task of finding the stream.

Crews deployed booms near Berth 4 to contain the oil, and they have been gradually reducing the contaminated area. Oily water is being skimmed from a corralled 30-by-30 foot area inside the boom. Two NOFI Current Buster boom systems are deployed outside of the boomed area, with trained fishing vessels to catch any escapement, and monitoring overflights are ongoing. About 15 fishing vessels have been hired to assist the containment and recovery effort, and more than 240 personnel are involved in the work. 

As of Tuesday, 35,000 gallons of oil-water mixture had been collected, including about 500 gallons of oil recovered. Four seabirds have been killed by oiling to date, according to Alaska state officials.