Washington State Department of Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard - August 28, 2013

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Ecology, Coast Guard and contractors continue response to sunken vessel at Willow Grove Island near Longview

LONGVIEW – Sheen remains in the area where a 75-foot vessel sunk Tuesday at Willow Grove Island, about five miles west of Longview. Cleanup efforts by the Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard and contractors Cowlitz Clean Sweep Inc and Ballard Diving & Salvage are continuing.
 
Responders were able to pump an estimated 250 gallons of oil from the vessel. At this time, responders estimate 50 to 100 gallons of fuel spilled from the vessel Granby. This number could be revised after spill responders complete their investigation, including a determination on the amount of fuel onboard the vessel at the time it sunk.
 
Divers were unable to remove oil from a hydraulic tank due to safety concerns. Oil-containment boom and oil-absorbing pads remain deployed around the vessel.
 
A Cowlitz County Health Department advisory asking people not swim or fish in the Columbia River near the Willow Grove Park area until the visible oil sheen has dissipated remains in effect. The department also recommends not allowing pets to enter water in this area because consuming the water could make pets ill as well. The park is about one mile from the incident site.
 
There is no estimated timeframe for completing the cleanup, nor has a timeline for the vessel owner to develop a plan to raise and remove the vessel been determined. Many factors can affect how long it takes to resolve an incident, including weather and tide conditions.
 
Responders continue to investigate possible impacts to wetlands, fish and wildlife. The cause of the sinking also is under investigation.
 
The boat owner, who reported the incident to state and federal agencies about 7 a.m. Tuesday and also hired the response contractors, is continuing to cooperate with Ecology and the Coast Guard. 
 
The sunken vessel was built in 1929. The wood-hulled trawler is no longer used for commercial purposes. The vessel potentially had 600 gallons of oil on board when it sunk, including diesel fuel.
 
Oil spilled to water typically forms oily patches that spread out quickly and can cover many acres of water. In fact, one quart of oil has the potential to foul 100,000 gallons of water.
 
All oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size. Prompt reporting of oil spills is important because the sooner responders are notified, the sooner they can work to minimize potential harm to the environment. Oil spills can be reported to 1-800-OILS-911

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Media Contact:

Dan Partridge, Department of Ecology media relations; 360-480-5722, dan.partridge@ecy.wa.gov
David Mosley, U.S. Coast Guard media relations; 503-861-6237; cell, 206-819-9154;  david.b.mosley@uscg.mil

For more information:

Willow Grove incident (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/PCGranbySinking/index.html)

Ecology Spills Program: (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html)

Cowlitz County Health & Human Services (www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/Index.aspx?NID=205)

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