Environment

Oil sheen contained near Cannery Pier in Astoria

ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) -- The Coast Guard and local crews are 6 days into cleaning up an oil sheen on the Columbia River near Astoria. A containment boom is now in place around the affected area, but it could be a couple of weeks before the river is officially oil free.

The oil sheen, which may be coming from an old 20-foot-long tank underneath the Cannery Pier, remains concentrated in that spot. The containment booms are now in secondary spots and the decontamination process will keep the oil there, allowing vessels to get in and out of the marina without more impact, the Coast Guard said.

The tank has a maximum spill potential of 4200 gallons but it is not known how much product has been released.

The spill could have spread even further, but Coast Guard officials were quick to contain it. That's because Don West, the general manager of the Cannery Pier & SPa, was quick to notice oil diffusing from the dock. He noticed it and immediately went to the Coast Guard.

"No one, no one knew that there was anything under the dock," West said. 

Multiple agencies are working together, including Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Seaside Aquarium, and the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.

"We're getting a round turn on it," said Chief Bradley Scott Bennet with the U.S. Coast Guard. "We've done some really good work cleaning up the marina and setting up boom to collect residual sheen potentially out of that dilapidated pier located next to the marina."

So far, no environmental or wildlife impact has been reported. The Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa remains open to guests, authorities said.

"Nobody wants us to think we are living in an oil slick, because we're not," West said. "The boom has contained it all and we are going to get it all cleaned up and it'll be back to business as normal."

Still, there's work to be done.

West said they're going to use a crane to tear apart the dock and get the tank out of the water.

"That is our concern is the pier collapsing any further and the overhead hazards, as well as there is a lot of riprap from pieces of the pier falling into the water before it creates a navigation issue for our boats," Bennett said.

"So it's going to take a few more days, maybe weeks -- time to properly decontaminate the sheen and clean it all up."

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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