Overview: On the morning of November 18th,
a dark viscous oil product was discovered during dewatering of the hatchery
penstocks at the Sitka Sound Science Center in Sitka, Alaska. The oil was
seeping from the cracked concrete wall under the Science Center building and into
the well vault which is tidally influenced by the Sound and fed from Indian
River which feeds the hatchery penstocks via a 70-year-old wooden stave. Indian
River had been diverted as part of the scheduled maintenance at the Science
Center prior to the spill and due to the maintenance and season, no fish are
currently present at the hatchery.
and other Federal Agency Actions: The spill is in USCG
jurisdiction and USCG Marine Safety Detachment Sitka, as well as Alaska
Department of Environmental Conservation staff have responded. Containment and
sorbet boom were deployed by USCG contractor. The source is unknown but appears
to be coming from an upland location.
EPA Actions: On November 22nd, the
USCG requested EPA assistance in investigating the source of the spill. A Pollution
Removal Funding Authorization was used to fund the investigation. EPA mobilized
2 OSCs and the START contractor to support the work. USCG is and remains the
Federal On- Scene Coordinator for this incident. The objectives of EPA’s work
include identification of the source, nature and extent of contamination, and
to assist the USCG in determining cleanup options.