Cleanup of structure spray at Berth 5
Cleanup of oiled structures at Berth 5 at the Valdez Marine Terminal continues, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Spill Prevention and Response said Feb. 8 in a final situation report on the Feb. 3 spill.
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. operations personnel discovered the spill Feb. 3 during rounds.
The estimated spill amount is fewer than 200 gallons to containment, with some spray to berth structures, equipment and pilings, and Alyeska continues to monitor the area around the clock, the division said.
While no sheen has been observed on the water, “a small unknown quantity of spray entered the water,” the division said.
The cause is under investigation with early indicators that crude was leaking from the end caps of two (of four) loading arms.
Alyeska President Tom Barrett told the House Resources Committee at a Feb. 7 hearing that the spill was probably 150-200 gallons.
DEC said Alyeska has begun an investigation as to the cause. Barrett said the weather was bad, it may have been an ice plug. The spray was basically into a concrete deck which goes to a sump, he said, noting high winds and cold temperatures.
He said Alyeska thinks there may be valve issues and because the system is 40 years old no one makes valves like that anymore. He said Alyeska is looking at a company which can manufacture the needed values, but it will probably be next year before replacement valves will be available, so the company is looking at what they can do before then.
DEC said additional boom was deployed as a safeguard and cleanup of oiled structure continues, with a plan in place to clean structures using hot water, with runoff of hot water to be collected and routed to the terminal ballast water treatment system.
Barrett said Alyeska’s goal is not to spill a drop, and noted that an earlier spill at Berth 5, which took place in September, cost Alyeska $2.5 million to clean up.
The motivation for us, Barret said, is not to have a spill.
He said Alyeska pays an enormous amount of attention to not having things to clean up.
- KRISTEN NELSON