Alyeska reports another Berth 5 spill
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. has reported a spill at Berth 5 at the Valdez Marine Terminal, the second spill at that berth in six months.
The current spill was found by operations personnel during rounds the morning of Feb. 3. Alyeska estimates that the spill amount is less than 200 gallons, which has spilled to containment, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Spill Prevention and Response said Feb. 4 in a situation report. The division said there was some spray to water but that no sheen on the water has been reported.
The earlier spill, which occurred in late September, was reported as an oily sheen at the Port of Valdez. For that spill Alyeska estimated that fewer than 100 gallons of crude oil residue were released.
Alyeska told the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council Jan. 18 that it tightened its procedure for testing loading arms after the September spill, and said it planned to replace valves in the loading arms as leakage around a valve that was a root cause of the September spill (see story in Feb. 4 issue of Petroleum News).
The company said the September incident occurred during routine testing of a ball valve designed to prevent fluids spilling from the loading arm when it is not in use. A test was begun, then deferred to later in the afternoon, but a couple of valves remained open and seawater used for testing flowed back through the seawater pump. The arm held some residual crude and Alyeska estimated that some 70 gallons of oil escaped.
Cause under investigationThe division said the cause of the current spill is under investigation, “but early indicators show that crude was leaking from the end caps of two (of four) loading arms into containment.” No tankers were loading when the spill occurred.
The source is secured, the division said, and Berth 5 is boomed, with skimming vessels deployed to the site.
While there is no sheen reported on the water, the division said sensitive area protection task forces are on standby.
The division said future plans are to clean up the spill site and continue monitoring to evaluate the need to deploy additional response equipment and personnel.
- KRISTEN NELSON