Tag Archive | oil spill

100,000 fish killed after oil spill in a creek in Washington, USA

Fish Kill Alert

The Washington Department of Ecology estimates that 66,000 to 100,000 fish have died in Olequa Creek near Winlock after a fire last week razed a warehouse nearby, potentially releasing more than a thousand gallons of vegetable oil into the creek.
 
The fish include juvenile salmonids, steelhead rainbow trout, coastal cutthroat trout, brook lamprey, sculpin, crayfish and red shiners. An estimated 94 percent of the dead fish were sculpin, a bottom-dwelling fish.
 
Ecology and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have not definitively determined a cause of death, but the die-offs are presumably related to the oil spill, because oil can coat fishes’ gills, causing them to suffocate. Oil can also cause an algae bloom, which deprives the water of oxygen.
 
Ecology spokesman Chase Gallagher estimated all aquatic animals in the creek, which is a tributary of the Cowlitz River, have died in a 3.5-mile area below the spill. Gallagher said there have been no reports that the oil sheen has reached the Cowlitz.
 
WDFW biologists were not available Monday to put the loss into perspective.
 
Officials still don’t know how much oil spilled into the creek, but the company that owns the warehouse, Olympic Trading Corp., was storing at least 1,100 gallons of vegetable and canola oil inside.
 
 
Ecology contract crews have been cleaning up the spill since the fire burned down the warehouse at 803 NW Kerron St. and disgorged the stored cooking oil.
 
“The absorbents are doing a good job,” Gallagher said of the pads the department is using to mop up the oil. “All the reports are saying that … the clearness of the creek is improving.”
 
An investigation into a cause of the fire is ongoing.
Courtesy of tdn.com

OIL SPILL ALERT IN NORTHERN NEW JERSEY, USA

Oil Spill Alert

Coast Guard crews are monitoring an oil spill that occurred when a tugboat struck a pier in northern New Jersey.
 
The spill at the International-Matex Tank Terminal in Bayonne was reported around 10 p.m. Saturday to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New York. The terminal is about 10 miles south of Manhattan, near where the Kill van Kull meets Upper New York Harbor.
 
The Coast Guard’s pollution response team was sent to the site, while a helicopter crew from Air Station Atlantic City also responded.
 
It wasn’t clear Sunday how many gallons of oil have entered the water.
 
Coast Guard responders and terminal employees quickly launched a containment boom and secured the source of the oil. But boaters and the public were being urged to stay away from the site.
Courtesy of fireengineering.com

Oil Pipeline Explosion Kills 12 in Nigeria

Explosion Alert

An accidental explosion on an oil pipeline in Nigeria operated by Italian energy giant Eni left 12 people dead and three injured, the company said in a statement Friday.
 
The explosion happened on Thursday during repair work on the pipeline, which had been damaged by acts of sabotage, Eni said, adding that the circumstances of the accident were still not clear.
 
A spokesman for the military joint task force in the southern Niger delta region, Lieutenant Colonel Ado Isa, confirmed the explosion but had no further details.
 
“An investigation is underway,” he told AFP.
 
A source at the environment ministry in Bayelsa state said the blast occurred when a team was at a facility run by Eni’s Nigerian subsidiary Agip investigating a recent oil spill.
 
No team member was killed but one was injured, the source said on condition of anonymity.
 
Eni, through Agip, is one of a number of international oil majors operating in Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest crude producer.
 
Oil spills are a major hazard in the oil-rich south and in March, Amnesty International claimed that Agip and Anglo-Dutch Shell had reported 553 spills in 2014.
Courtesy of thelocal.it

Panic As Fire Rages On At Oil Spill Site in Bayelsa, Nigeria

Oil Spill Alert

Residents of Ossiama, Ogboinbiri, Okpotuwari and neighbouring communities in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State are currently living in fear as fire continues to rage at a fresh oil spill site in the area.
 
The fire was said to have been discovered by the locals two days ago. The oil spill that led to the fire incident was said to have occurred on a pipeline operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in the area. Community sources said the actual cause of the spill could, however, not be ascertained.
 
The fresh spill site is close to another spill site that was clamped on April 23, 2015, and which is yet to be cleaned up.
 
A community source who craved anonymity said a joint investigation visit (JIV) conducted on the devastated site of the April 23 incident indicated that the fire was caused by equipment failure. According to the source, since the JIV exercise was conducted, neither Agip officials nor the personnel of the regulatory agencies, which include the Ministry of the Environment, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), have re-visited the impacted site. He fumed that remediation has also not been carried out on the affected environment of the impacted communities, adding that the crude oil slick could spread fast into the surrounding swamps, farms, farmlands, creeks and rivulets during the current rainy season.
Courtesy of allafrica.com

TONS of fish dead from an oil spill along the Amazon River in Peru

Dead fish from an oil spill in the Peruvian Amazon are mixed with oil-covered twigs gathered by local residents. Fish are vital to the villagers' diet and income. (Photo: Barbara Fraser)

On the last day of June, Roger Mangía Vega watched an oil slick and a mass of dead fish float past this tiny Kukama Indian community and into the Marañón River, a major tributary of the Amazon.

Community leaders called the emergency number for Petroperu, the state-run operator of the 845-kilometer pipeline that pumps crude oil from the Amazon over the Andes Mountains to a port on Peru’s northern coast.

By late afternoon, Mangía and a handful of his neighbors – contracted by the company and wearing only ordinary clothing – were up to their necks in oily water, searching for a leak in the pipe. Villagers, who depend on fish for subsistence and income, estimated that they had seen between two and seven tons of dead fish floating in lagoons and littering the landscape.

“It was the most horrible thing I’ve seen in my life – the amount of oil, the huge number of dead fish and my Kukama brothers working without the necessary protection,” said Ander Ordóñez Mozombite, an environmental monitor for an indigenous community group called Acodecospat who visited the site a few days later.

This rupture of Peru’s 39-year-old northern crude oil pipeline has terrified Kukama villagers along the Marañón River. People’s complaints of nausea and skin rashes are aggravated by nervousness about eating the fish, concerns about their lost income and fears that oil will spread throughout the tropical forest and lakes when seasonal flooding begins in November. Cuninico, a village of wooden, stilt-raised, palm-thatched houses, is home to about 130 families but several hundred families in other communities also fish nearby.

Three weeks after they discovered the spill, the villagers still have more questions than answers about the impacts.

“It sounds like an environmental debacle for the people and the ecosystem,” said David Abramson, deputy director of the National Center of Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York.

“There is a need for public health and environmental monitoring at a minimum of four levels – water, fish, vegetation and the population,” he said.

Company officials at Petroperu did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment.

Government officials have not officially announced how much crude oil spilled. However, in a radio interview, Energy and Mines Minister Eleodoro Mayorga mentioned 2,000 barrels, which is 84,000 gallons.

Indigenous leaders noted that the pipeline, which began operating again July 12 after the repairs, has a history of leaks.

Leaders of at least four neighboring communities said masses of dead fish appeared in lagoons and streams in the week before the oil spill was reported, indicating that it could have been leaking for days before it was spotted.

Even fish that escaped the worst of the spill could be poisoned, experts said. Fishermen who traveled an hour or two up the Urituyacu River, a tributary of the Marañón, in search of a catch unaffected by the spill returned with fish that they said tasted of oil.

Some Amazonian fish migrate long distances, and ongoing monitoring will be important for determining how fisheries recover, said Diana Papoulias, a fish biologist with E-Tech International, a New Mexico-based engineering firm that advises indigenous Peruvian communities on oil-related issues.

Key concerns include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are classified as probable human carcinogens and can cause skin, liver and immune system problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to PAHs in the womb has been linked to effects on children’s brain development, including learning and behavioral changes.

“The rule of thumb is that during the spill it’s a horrible mess, and two or three years later it’s hard to find evidence.” –Edward Overton, Louisiana State University For pregnant women, the fish become a “double-edged sword,” Abramson said. “They need that protein source to enhance the neurological development of the fetus, but at the same time, you don’t want them ingesting things that have unknown impacts.”

Mothers said children and adults in their families are suffering from stomachaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness, and small children have skin rashes after bathing in the rivers.

In this part of the Marañón valley, the nearest health center is more than an hour away by boat and does not have a doctor.

The government’s Environmental Evaluation and Oversight Agency (Organismo de Evaluación y Fiscalización Ambiental, OEFA) has taken no samples of fish tissue for testing, according to Delia Morales, the agency’s assistant director of inspection.

Much of the oil settled in pools along the pipeline during the flood season, creating a viscous soup where dying fish flopped weakly. Government officials said damage was limited to a 700-meter stretch along the pipeline. The ground and tree trunks in the forest on both sides of the pipeline were also stained with oil, in a swath local residents estimated at up to 300 meters wide. When that area begins to flood again in November, villagers fear that contamination could spread.

Petroperu hired men from the village of Cuninico to find the leak and raise the pipeline out of the canal to repair it. Several of the men said they were up to their necks in oily water, working in T-shirts and pants or stripped to their underwear. They said they received protective gear only when a Peruvian TV crew arrived more than two weeks later. The July 20 newscast led to a shakeup in Petroperu’s leadership.

Meanwhile, the workers’ wives wash their clothes in the Marañón River, squatting on rafts moored along the bank. Besides being the only transportation route in the area, the river is the source of water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.

Within a week after the spill, the local fish market had dried up. Women who normally sold 10 to 20 kilos of fish a day said their usual buyers shunned them. Children in Cuninico told a reporter from Radio Ucamara, a local radio station, that fish had disappeared from the family table and they were eating mainly rice and cassava, a root.

Abramson said the villagers’ mental health can be undermined by poor diet, income loss and conflicts between community members.

The pipeline has been repaired and the oil is flowing to the port again, but the long-term impacts of the spill are uncertain.

Light and bacteria help break down oil naturally, said Edward Overton, a chemistry professor in Louisiana State University’s Department of Environmental Studies who has studied the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Volatile substances in the oil, which dissolve readily in water, could have caused the fish kills if the pipeline had been leaking for a time before the spill was reported, he said.

“The rule of thumb is that during the spill it’s a horrible mess, and two or three years later it’s hard to find evidence,” Overton said.

But that may not be the case in Amazonian wetlands, where clay soil and high water limit the oxygen available to oil-eating microbes, said Ricardo Segovia, a hydrogeologist with E-Tech International.

The government’s environmental agency is expected to issue its report on the spill by the end of this month and could levy fines, Morales said.

Villagers are waiting to see whether the government will sanction its own pipeline operation and pay damages.

“It sounds as though the state is in a precarious position,” Abramson said. “It [the government of Peru] has to monitor and assure the health and well-being of the population, but it may be one of the agents that is liable [for the spill]. They have to monitor themselves and decide what is fair and equitable.”

48 Dolphins wash up dead during past month in Texas, America

Just as it seemed the clean-up efforts from last months oil spill under control, there’s new evidence washing ashore that proves to the public just how much nearly 168,000 gallons of oil affects wildlife.

The U.S. Coast Guard confirms that 30 dead dolphins have been found in the Galveston area since the wreck, 48 total in March. That’s well above average, and very well above last years recovery of only 15.

A high number of dead dolphins is typical during what is called the stranding season from January through March, but so far, 2 have been confirmed to have oil on their bodies and two more are being tested for possible oil exposure.

Though it’s not proven that oil is the definite cause of the increase in stranding yet, it’s definitely a concern, and until the murky waters are all cleared up, we won’t know exactly how much our wildlife will be impacted.