Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oil Slick seen behind Stone Harbour

A sharp eyed dog walker reported an oil slick in the harbor approximately 40 yards long x 10' wide behind Stone Harbour Condos yesterday afternoon to the National Response Center. The oil appeared to be coming from an out flow storm drain running under the condo complex near the white mill. The EPA and the Coast Guard were immediately contacted who in turn contacted DEM. This morning DEM was at the site and beginning investigations. They said the oil was so thin that placing booms would not be effective. They also thought the slick would evaporate when the sun came out. Two years ago a similar oil slick appeared in the same area that was traced back to Andrews School. After heavy rain, the sump pump at Andrews School pumped oil (mixed with basement water) from the school's basement into the street. The oil traveled through the storm drain system directly into Bristol Harbor near the Stone Harbour Marina (there are several outfalls that empty under the boardwalk). DEM was informed of this this morning. Water that enters any of the Town's storm drains west of High Street, drains directly into Bristol Harbor.
To report an oil spill call the National Response Center at: 1-800-424-8802 or DEM at: 401 222 1360 and on weekends: 401 222 3070

Here is an update from DEM May 6, 2009:
"We tracked the oil odor back up the storm drain to the drain in front of the Andrews School. We were able to trace it back to the boiler room sump pump. We spoke to Mr. Simmons who is the Maintenance Director for the schools. We advised him that he should install some absorbent boom in the sump and in the drain in front of the school so as to remove the school as a possible source for the oil coming out into the harbor. He will do this as soon as he can find a source for the booms." (I've emailed DEM to ask the source of the oil. LG)

Second update from DEM May 7, 2009:
"The school is now on natural gas and the oil tank has been removed.
The oil contamination is residual from the original spill that happened
several years ago. The Department feels that it would not be cost
effective to have the school do anymore digging to complete the
remediation of the oil in the soil. Instead we suggested the placement
of absorbents in the storm drain system in the basement and at the front
of the school. This should take care of the oil coming out of the
contaminated area."

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