PERTH AMBOY, N.J., Feb. 21, 2006 -- A Unified Incident Command (UIC) comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard (with coordination from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Chevron Products Co. continue to respond to a crude oil spill in the Arthur Kill that occurred last week.
Spill Volume and Recovery:
The total volume of crude oil spilled is unchanged from the prior estimate of approximately 31,000 gallons.
Approximately 119,448 gallons of oil-water mixture have been recovered and stored.
Approximately 477,234 pounds of oil absorbents and other contaminated solids have been removed during the clean-up.
Clean-up Efforts and Progress:
Response personnel continue to monitor and maintain cleaned and unimpacted shoreline on both sides of the Arthur Kill.
Clean-up crews are now focusing on isolated areas of impacted shoreline on both sides of the Arthur Kill.
Excavation and clean-up continues at the Chevron facility wharf area. The area is isolated with containment boom to prevent release of oil into the Arthur Kill.
The New Jersey Responder, an oil spill response vessel, is no longer needed for the response effort. It is being off-loaded of recovered oil-water mixture, then it will be cleaned and released.
Off-loading of the barge that was originally transporting crude oil at the time of the spill has been completed. The U.S. Coast Guard will allow a tugboat to take the barge from the Chevron facility once it has been cleaned.
Unified Incident Command's priorities are:
Protect human health and the environment, and continue a safe, incident-free response. Safety continues to be a focus for all response personnel. Two minor first-aid injuries have occurred during the cleanup.
Continue assessments by air and land and modify response strategies to redeploy personnel and assets as needed.
Contain and clean up impacted areas and begin monitoring and maintaining previously cleaned areas.
Assess and monitor oil impact on the environment to ensure successful rehabilitation for impacted wildlife and vegetation.
Begin cleaning and demobilizing any equipment not required for ongoing operations.
Personnel and Equipment Deployed:
Approximately 450 personnel from the Unified Incident Command, including contractors, are on site working to manage response efforts and contain and clean up the spill.
Approximately 14,800 feet of containment boom has been deployed.
On-water oil recovery is being conducted by five oil skimming vessels.
Another 40 vessels/work boats are being used for a variety of purposes, such as deploying or maintaining containment booms, supporting shoreline cleanup, and observing and recovering any impacted wildlife.
Responders are also using six vacuum trucks and other equipment for the response effort.
Environmental and Wildlife Impact:
So far, two oiled Canada geese have been recovered and are being cared for. Two deceased herring gulls without oil and one deceased herring gull with oil and one deceased Great Black Back Herring with oil have been recovered. Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, Inc. continues to patrol the spill area to recover and rehabilitate any impacted wildlife.
A necropsy of the Harbor porpoise that was recovered Feb. 16 was submitted to the National Marine Fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries will determine if the porpoise's death was caused by the spill.
Individuals who observe injured or oiled wildlife should not attempt to rescue them. Doing so can be dangerous, and may cause injury to both the would-be rescuer and the wildlife. Observers should note the type of wildlife, location, and time of their observation and promptly report it by calling the following number: 732-738-2155. Trained wildlife experts will then be dispatched to recover and care for the injured wildlife.
The cause of the spill is being investigated. Chevron is cooperating with regulatory agencies to determine the cause.