Responders continue diesel cleanup on Adak

KODIAK, Alaska – Responders are continuing cleanup and recovery efforts of 142,800 gallons of spilled diesel fuel in Adak at first light Wednesday.

Additional crews arrived Tuesday afternoon to aid Adak Petroleum and Aleut Enterprises in their cleanup efforts. The crews observed a small sheen of approximately one quarter mile extending beyond the boom at the mouth of the smallboat harbor.

Crews Wednesday intend to remove diesel gathered along the boom and continue removing diesel from Helmet Creek. Additional boom will be applied to the surrounding creeks to prevent oiling of clean creeks and maintain containment in Helmet Creek. Oiled shoreline has been observed by responders on the of the smallboat harbor and at the mouth of Happy Valley Creek.

Monday on site workers were able to contain the spill using hard boom. Tuesday they reinforced that effort by placing three segments of boom totaling 1,100 feet across the mouth of the Adak smallboat harbor to prevent contamination of Sweeper Cove. Roads in the vicinity of the spill have been closed to the public.

Skimmers were placed at key collection points along Helmet Creek and a vacuum truck was also used. Approximately 1,800 gallons of diesel and water was collected. As diesel is a lighter fuel a portion of the exposed fuel will have evaporated.

Plans are being developed to handle the soiled sorbents, contaminated boom and recovered diesel. The collected sorbent materials and diesel are currently being securely stored on site until they can be removed from the island and sent to a waste handling facility.

The unified command is working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game personnel to minimize the disturbance caused by response actions to sea otters and critical habitat. No oiled wildlife has been reported and very little wildlife activity has been observed.

The unified command has also employed an historic properties specialist to identify and preserve any cultural and historical sites that may be located near the spill site.

Weather conditions on site Tuesday were favorable to recovery activities with northwest winds 25 to 35 mph and no precipitation.

Wednesday winds are forecast as 10 to 15 mph increasing in the evening to 45 to 55 mph from the southeast with rain, snow and patchy fog, which may hamper efforts. The air temperature is expected to be in the 30s.

The spill was discovered Monday during a fuel transfer operation from the tanker Al-Amerat to a 4.78 million gallon subterranean tank in the Adak tank farm. The transfer was ceased immediately and the source of the spill has been secured.

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