(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)
January 11, 2016 11:00 a.m.
Cleanup materials left in place on Dec. 31 remained free of newly picked-up oil for a week. They were removed on Jan. 8, concluding the field response.
December 31, 2015 4:00 p.m.
Ecology's environmental contractor completed three-and-a-half days of cleanup this afternoon. Workers set out oil spill cleanup pads and materials as the response shifted from active removal of oil
and oiled vegetation to natural recovery. Further active cleanup could cause long-term damage to the wetland.
December 30, 2015 3:00 p.m.
Oil type identified:
December 29, 2015 4:00 p.m.
A crew of nine continued cleanup of the oil spill in a Kent forested wetland today, and will continue until after dark this evening. The same number of workers will resume the effort at tomorrow morning’s first light.
Overnight, the site will be covered with oil spill cleanup materials, and a crew member will tend a small skimming device.
Workers are removing oiled vegetation, leaves and branches. The accumulation so far is 20 cubic yards, a volume equivalent to more than 4,000 gallons. Pumps and skimmers have recovered about 500 gallons of oil/water mixture.
Ecology has tapped into a state oil spill fund to enable the cleanup to proceed. The cost estimate for two days of contractor work is $20,800. At least one more day of cleanup is needed.
December 29, 2015 11:00 a.m.
Environmental crews began at first light this morning on a second day of cleaning up oil discovered over the weekend in a wooded wetland in Kent.
A dog walker first noticed the spill Sunday, December 27th in the late afternoon shortly after sunset and reported it to 911. The Kent Fire Department responded and notified the Department of Ecology.
Responders found thick heavy oil in a marshy forest just off a street end on S. 216th St. The material appeared to be waste oil, and may have been present at least a week or possibly more. The oil was “weathered,” showing age signs such as grayish color and a low odor level.
The spill appears to cover about an acre and a half of wetland. That, plus the thickness of the oil, up to two inches in places, enabled Ecology to roughly estimate the spill at 250 to 300 gallons.
Cleanup started at dawn
Workers operated small skimmers and suction pumps, deployed oil cleanup pads and removed oiled vegetation. The first day’s work yielded 500 gallons of oily water, 45 gallons of oil from the skimmer and 45 trash bags of soiled material.
Wetlands need special care
The wetland plants will be able to re-grow, but some residual oil will remain. This normally dissipates as the oil degrades through a natural process. The oil and debris removed in the cleanup gives this process an important boost.
Responders have observed no birds in the area, and there are no reports of oiled wildlife. We would expect that small life forms, such as insects, other invertebrates and amphibians, would be affected by this oil.
The spill is on property owned by an adjoining business. The 24-acre wetland is “isolated,” which means its water does not exit by a surface stream. Instead the wetland’s water level rises and falls with the water table, and water flows out as groundwater.
The cleanup will require at least another day. After no more active cleanup is possible, Ecology will monitor the wetland as the residual oil continues to weather and dissipate. By the time wildlife becomes more active in the spring, the affected area should present a much reduced environmental risk as vegetation sprouts and regrows.
Date of Incident:
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