Coast Guard responds to pollution in Baltimore Harbor after warehouse fire

Pollution Responders from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region take samples from an oil spill that occurred in the Jones Falls section of he Baltimore Harbor, June 7, 2019. The spill was believed to have come from a nearby warehouse fire the night before. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges)

Pollution responders from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region take samples from an oil spill that occurred in the Jones Falls section of he Baltimore Harbor, June 7, 2019.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges)

BALTIMORE — The Coast Guard is conducting containment and clean up efforts in the Baltimore Harbor after a warehouse fire may have caused an oily substance to leak into the waterway Friday morning.

The Coast Guard was notified of the pollution early Friday morning by the Maryland Department of the Environment. They noticed oily discharge from the site of the fire washing into storm drains and investigated where it could have possibly come out. MDE observed pollution where Jones Falls meets the harbor. They deployed sorbent material and notified the Coast Guard. The boom surrounding the Mr. Trash Wheel at the mouth of the canal contained a significant amount of the pollution before responders arrived.

Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region pollution responders arrived at approximately 4 a.m., to deploy additional containment and sorbent material and contracted Miller Environmental Group to contain and recover the pollution.

“The flow of the water is bringing the oil to us, so that’s in our benefit,” said Chief Petty Officer Sean Devine, an on-site pollution responder. “It will eventually all end up here — how long that takes depends on how much oil has been released, that we don’t know about, and how much could potentially leave the source.”

The Coast Guard is overseeing Miller Environmental Group’s continued clean up. They are also working with MDE to investigate the source of the spill.

“This is a perfect example of why we train with to work with our partners and why we have those relationships,” said Cmdr. Mathew Fine, deputy commander of the sector. “When something suddenly happens ,we can depend on each other, work seamlessly together and know our lanes on a cleanup like this.”


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