[B] [FONT=Arial][I]Standard-Times[/I] (New Bedford)
Coast Guard IDs spill as diesel fuel; cleanup continues
December 15, 2009 12:00 AM
NEW BEDFORD — Coast Guard officials said the petroleum-based product that covered most of the city’s inner harbor Sunday was diesel fuel, but they have not determined the source or method of the contamination.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Terrell said the Coast Guard boarded barges Monday that had been in the area and took samples for comparison with the diesel fuel taken from the water.
“Coast Guard investigators are working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to identify the source of the spill,” said Capt. Raymond Perry, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.
In addition to covering the majority of the city’s inner harbor Sunday, the spill extended about 100 yards beyond the hurricane barrier.
Terrell said Monday most of the diesel fuel from the spill has dissipated to light sheening through wave action and evaporation.
She said there is a thin patch, measuring about 50 yards, along the Fairhaven shoreline in the vicinity of the Fairhaven Shipyard, and that is being cleaned.
She said Frank Corp. Environmental Services arrived on the scene about 1:50 p.m. Monday and completed the cleanup of recoverable fuel. Absorbent pads will be left in the area overnight.
She said responders from the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office in Providence are supervising the cleanup.
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, based in Newark, Del., has been asked to assess the potential impact to waterfowl in the area as a result of the spill, Terrell said.
Perry said the Coast Guard has opened the Pollution Fund, a federal fund set aside to clean up oil spills.