Spills photo identifier

Spills Program

Lake Union Diesel Spill

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

Lake Union


July 20, 5 p.m.

Cleanup crews have removed all oil that can be recovered from the water and shore structures, such as dock pilings and waterlines. Some sheen may be visible on the water, a layer of oil too thin to recover, that will dissipate in the next day or so.

Ecology continues its investigation into the cause of the release of fuel from the vessel.

July 19, 5 p.m.

The Washington Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and the U.S. Coast Guard are responding to diesel oil spill from the 74-foot yacht Wild Waves, moored in Lake Union, Seattle.

Workers at Lake Union Drydock Co., located near the yacht's large boathouse, reported first noticing oil on the water at about 6:30 this morning. They reported the spill to federal and state authorities, and deployed oil spill containment boom from the shipyard's spill response supplies.

The three responding agencies have formed a unified command along with the vessel owner's representative. The owner has hired spill response contractors who are acting under the agencies' oversight.

The amount spilled and the cause of the spill remain under investigation. and it appears that fuel leaked from at least one of four tanks on board into the vessel bilge, activating the bilge pump and discharging fuel overboard.

The spill produced a strong diesel odor in the immediate area, but monitors showed vapors well below the level for fire or explosion risk. Monitoring on shore showed no detection of fuel vapors.

Today's southwesterly breezes pushed the oil back toward the lake's eastern shore, helping prevent a more widespread coating on the surface. The cleanup will include removing diesel from the water surface contained by boom around the vessel and hand cleaning along the shoreline and under the docks.

Oil spill materials can be seen in the area, including containment booms and materials placed on the water to absorb oil. Vacuum trucks may be seen on the area's larger piers, and crews are operating small boats to tend cleanup materials, operate small skimmers and do waterline cleaning.

SPU crews are surveying the lake for additional pockets of oil. Ecology crews are assessing environmental effects. There have been no reports of oiled wildlife.

Clean-up crews are stopping activities overnight, and will resume clean-up operations tomorrow morning.


Date of Incident & Location:
July 19, 2016/Lake Union

Diesel oil/under investigation

Under investigation

Responsible Party:
Pleasure vessel Wild Waves


U.S. Coast Guard - Coast Guard, partner agencies respond to pollution in Lake Union, Wash.


Larry Altose