Salmon Bay oil spill in Seattle

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

Monday, 11/2/10 11:47 pm

The October 27, 2010 oil spill in Salmon Bay remains under investigation.  The Department of Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard continue to gather information on vessels that passed through, into or out of the bay, which lies along the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle.  The two agencies will collect oil samples from these and other vessels in the area that may be of interest to investigators. 

This process will take time, as investigators board and collect samples from each vessel, and then for laboratory work.  It may take several weeks to complete this evidence-gathering phase of the case.

Cleanup crews collected recoverable oil from the water in the Ballard Mill Marina, across Salmon Bay, north of Fishermen’s Terminal on October 27.  By day’s end, no more oil could be collected.  A thin oil coating remained visible on water in the Salmon Bay area through October 29.

This spill appears to be a combined incident, because there were two kinds of oil suspected on the water: hydraulic oil and red-dyed diesel fuel oil, both commonly used by commercial vessels.  The amount spilled remains unknown.  A few dozen gallons can create a surface coating the size of this spill’s area, which includes the area in Fishermen’s Terminal, Ballard Mill Marina, the reach of water between them, and waters to the west.  At its height, the spill coated approximately 90 acres.

Wednesday, 10/27/10 5:00 pm

Cleanup and investigation continue in Salmon Bay spill

SEATTLE - The state Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard, and a private cleanup contractor are responding to an oil spill reported this morning on Salmon Bay in Seattle.

An unknown source, most likely one or more commercial vessels, released diesel fuel and hydraulic oil into the freshwater bay at Fishermen's Terminal, on the southern shore. This morning's winds from the south pushed the oil north across the bay into a private marina on the north shore. An oil coating can be seen on the water's surface in both locations, but is too thin for cleanup in most areas.

A cleanup contractor is recovering oil from the water at the Ballard Mill Marina, north of Fishermen's terminal. Crews in boats and on the dock are placing oil cleanup pads on the water.

Ecology and Coast Guard investigators continue their efforts to identify the source of the spill. They found one fishing vessel which had a small release of hydraulic oil, but this may not account for all of oil in the bay.

The amount of oil is unknown. Tens of gallons, however, can spread over the surface of an area the size of Salmon Bay.

All oil spills matter, regardless of size. Petroleum products are toxic to the environment.

Wednesday, 10/27/10 12:50 pm 

The state Department of Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard are responding to an oil spill at Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle.  An oil slick, originating there has spread north across Salmon Bay.  Responders are working to identify and control the source of the spill and to begin cleanup work. 

More information about the spill will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

Salmon Bay spill









Date of Incident:
Oct. 27, 2010

Fishermen's Terminal
Salmon Bay, Seattle, WA

Diesel fuel and hydraulic oil. Quantity of oil unknown.

Under Investigation

Responsible Party: Unknown


Larry Altose, media relations
Washington Department of Ecology 206-920-2600,

LT JG Tasha Gentile
U.S. Coast Guard media relations