Oil spill cleanup efforts wind down as costs rise

The Coast Guard will keep containment boom around the Cannery Pier Hotel to help prevent the spread of oil from a nearby fuel storage tank that leaked into the Columbia River.

While cleanup efforts of an oil spill near the Cannery Pier Hotel are winding down, costs have climbed to $900,000 and a containment boom is expected to remain in place near the hotel for months.

The Coast Guard and contractors have been working to clean the area since the spill was first reported in January. A sheen spanned 5 miles along the Columbia River, though most of the oil was contained near the hotel.

A damaged 16-foot by 6-foot oil tank containing nearly 2,300 gallons of Bunker C oil was removed Jan. 30, and no new oil has been spotted. Crews have also cleaned 20 cubic yards of oiled debris and 6,150 gallons of an oily water mixture.

Oil spotted on boats in the area has been cleaned up, and residual oil remains on some pier pilings and seawall rocks. The oil is expected to dissipate naturally in some of these areas, while absorbent boom will continue to collect some oil. The oil has not affected wildlife, according to the Coast Guard.

The cost of the cleanup is currently being covered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

A Coast Guard investigation found that the tank was damaged and started to discharge oil after a storm caused parts of a dilapidated pier near the hotel to fall on top of it. Cannery Pier management, which operates the property where the pier is located, maintains that the hotel did not know about the tank.

The Coast Guard announced earlier this month that it will send investigators to process claims and attempt to identify a responsible party once the cleanup is finished.

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