From the News Tribune:”The state Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard pollution investigators and the Seattle Police Department Harbor Patrol are responding to reports of a diesel fuel spill in Salmon Bay, an area just south of Ballard in Seattle. The spill was initially observed about 5 a.m. Saturday. State, federal and local authorities have investigators at the site. The cause and volume of the spill are still under investigation, but investigators say there does not appear to any ongoing leak of fuel into the water.
The oil sheen – a very thin coating of oil – is too thin for removal from the water.
According to the Ecology Department’s report: “Oil spilled to water typically forms oily patches that spread out quickly. These ‘oil slicks’ can cover many acres of water. All oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size. Oil is toxic to the environment and the damage starts as soon as the oil hits water. A single quart of oil has the potential to foul more than 100,000 gallons of water.”
This is an occurrence that happens almost daily in almost every navigable body of water. The problem is always that the oil sheen is almost impossible to remove from the water by conventional methods. The most common way of trying to stop a sheen from spreading is to deploy a containment boom around the source. Although this technique has been used in the industry for decades and is the best method available till now, it is notoriously inefficient. Skimmers are all but useless in these situations.Some responders still employ using vacuum trucks parked on the bank, or on a boat or ship, sucking up hundreds of gallons of water an hours but only recover the tiniest amount of oil and leaving the rest behind. The use of absorbent polypropylene booms is another accepted method. Unfortunately, these booms will only partially do the job and often present a host of other problems such as sinking, tearing or ripping or releasing the absorbed oil back into the water. Contact us for a better solution.