Washington State Department of Ecology - July 23, 2013

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Team of state, federal and local authorities to recover vessel from Columbia River bottom near Finley

SPOKANE – A 41-foot wooden fishing vessel lying at the bottom of the Columbia River near  Finley, Wash., will soon be “high and dry,” thanks to a team of specialists from the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and the Benton County Emergency Management Division. The boat is scheduled to be recovered beginning today, Tuesday, July 23.

Recovery of the boat is necessary to prevent environmental damage from the potential release of approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel and eight gallons of engine and hydraulic oil on board.

A small sheen was observed immediately after sinking, but there has been no apparent release of fuel or oil since. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office has been monitoring the wreck. 

The boat sank just off the bank of the Columbia River, two miles downstream of Two Rivers Park in Finley on July 12. The owner is unable to recover the boat, which is in 40 feet of water.  

Global Diving & Salvage Inc. has been hired to recover and secure the boat, offload the fuel and oil, and prevent environmental damage.

Recovery and salvage are being paid for from the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and the Department of Natural Resources Derelict Vessel Removal Program.

Ecology and the coordinating agencies will seek reimbursement costs from the boat owner.

All oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size. Oil is toxic to the environment and the damage starts as soon as the oil hits water. A single quart of oil has the potential to foul more than 100,000 gallons of water.

For updates and photos of the progress follow @ecyspokane on Twitter.

Media Contacts:

Brook Beeler, communication manager @ecyspokane, 509-329-3478 brook.beeler@ecy.wa.gov

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Spills Preparedness and Response Program (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html)

Ecology’s social media  (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/socialmedia.html)