Manufactured gas plant waste released into Sinclair Inlet, Bremerton, Wash.

Sinclair InletSEATTLE – The Coast Guard received a report on Oct. 5, 2010, from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of a manufactured gas plant (MGP) coal tar creosote waste release in the mid-tidal zone of Sinclair Inlet in Bremerton.

The source is a subsurface concrete pipe coming from the old Bremerton Gasworks, a site where a coal-gasification plant operated from the 1930s into the 1950s. The pipe is leaking creosote into beach sediments and marine water, but it is unknown at this time where the pipe originates from.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) fund has been opened and the Coast Guard has hired Ballard Diving and Salvage to contain and secure the release.

“Our first priority at this time is to safely minimize environmental impact,” said Capt. Scott Ferguson, Captain of the Port for Sector Puget Sound, Wash. “The EPA and Coast Guard will be working together with other federal, state and local agencies to conduct an investigation into the source of the release.”

Shellfish beds have been closed in the surrounding area and local beaches have been posted by the Kitsap Health Department.

U. S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Washington Departments of Ecology and Natural Resources, and the Kitsap County Health District have agreed to let Cascade Natural Gas Corporation assume responsibility for removing the waste from the shoreline and water.

A Unified Command has been established as part of the Incident Command Structure system. A Unified Command is established when an incident occurs that involves multiple government agencies and private organizations.

The amount of the release is unknown, but is thought to be minimal. A pneumatic plug has been inserted into the pipe to prevent further discharge. Containment equipment has been effective at keeping the waste from spreading beyond the point of discharge.

Cascade Natural Gas will conduct an evaluation of the site on October 22, 2010, to determine the scope of the work, which they anticipate will begin the first week in November.

The Coast Guard and EPA will continue to maintain spill containment equipment at the site until Cascade Natural Gas assumes complete responsibility for the operation. The UC will oversee the immediate cleanup operation until its completion.

EPA and the Coast Guard appreciate the cooperation of the Wash. Department of Ecology, Kitsap Health District, the City of Bremerton and the Wash. Department of Natural Resources, which manages the state-owned aquatic lands into which the creosote was found leaking.

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