Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crews Clean Marsh Spill Barge Sank, Leaked Oil at Brunswick

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crews Clean Marsh Spill Barge Sank, Leaked Oil at Brunswick

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

BRUNSWICK -- Environmental crews were washing down marsh grass and using pumps and a skimmer yesterday to remove some of the 1,400 gallons of oil that spilled from a barge Saturday into Terry Creek.

The oil spill was noticed between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday after a barge sank near the confluence of Terry and Dupree creeks, two navigable streams that wind through the marsh on the eastern side of Brunswick. Because of a full moon, tides were very high Sunday and they spread the oil far up into the marshes, coating the grass and banks for about 1 1/2 miles, including the city's Overlook Park on the Marshes of Glynn.

Moran Environmental Recovery Inc., which has offices in Savannah and Jacksonville, brought in about 18 workers, five boats and 3,500 feet of floating boom to contain and clean up the oil, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Shane Raiford, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard's Gulf Strike Team from Mobile, Ala.

Much of their work was upstream, south of the St. Simons Island Causeway, where the oil was pushed into small streams that lace through the marshes.

Workers were spraying down marsh grass at a bend in Terry Creek where the barge and the crane mounted on it sat partly underwater. The contamination was worst there and Moran workers were washing the oil back into the creek where a skimmer was picking it up for pumping into a tank truck, Raiford said.

The rainbow sheen of oil on the water is less dangerous than it appears, he said.

"That's very thin. All you can do with that is let it burn off. It evaporates and oxidates,'' he said.

The Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in Savannah will conduct two investigations, one to determine why the oil was on board the barge and another on what caused the barge to sink, Raiford said. "We have seen no wildlife or fish killed. We've seen no oiled waterfowl whatsoever,'' he said.

"Obviously, it took on water,'' he said of the barge. "They're not sure why yet.''

Matt Springer of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division came to the site yesterday to monitor the cleanup. …

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