Capital Terminal Oil spill efforts shift to long-term remediation

Coast Guard District 1 NewsBOSTON — Officials with the inter-agency task force in charge of the Capital Terminal Oil spill last month announced that initial emergency response efforts have concluded, and efforts have shifted to a second phase, a long-term remediation plan to eliminate or minimize long-term impacts to the environment.

On Aug. 31, 2011, Cardi Corporation, who was hired by the state to construct a new road in East Providence, R.I., accidentally ruptured an underground pipeline used to transport oil from Capital Terminal Company’s waterfront facility to its tank farm further inland. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, East Providence Fire Department, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Capital Terminal Company, and Cardi Corporation established a unified command to coordinate cleanup efforts.

Since the date of the spill, the inter-agency unified command, along with several environmental response contractors, worked to recover oil through vacuuming of pooled oil, high-pressure flushing of a nearby storm drain, excavation of oil-contaminated soil, and the installation of several recovery wells. Additionally, the contractors obtained soil samples to determine the extent of soil and groundwater contamination.

The long-term remediation for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will address the remaining subsurface oil in the area surrounding the accident site.

Of the 70,000 gallons spilled, about 50 gallons of oil made its way to the Seekonk River through a storm drain immediately after the spill. Officials also determined that about 43,000 gallons that spilled from the rupture have been recovered and about 1,000 gallons have been lost to evaporation.

“Many successful oil spill responses recover only 20% of the oil spilled. We have already recovered over 60% of the oil spilled,” said Cmdr. Paul Lattanzi, Coast Guard Incident Commander for the Capital Terminal Oil spill. “This is because of the great cooperation of everyone involved. The East Providence Fire Department, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Capital Terminal Company, Cardi Corporation and the Coast Guard each had an important role to play, and each contributed in a cooperative and coordinated way.”

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