Category Archives: News Releases

Press Release: April 16, 1:30 p.m.

Date: 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, 2020

Response efforts continue at Valdez Marine Terminal

VALDEZ, Alaska – Response and recovery work on the water and on the ground continued in rainy conditions overnight and into today as crews respond to the spill at the Valdez Marine Terminal (VMT).

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, approximately 654 barrels (27,468 gallons) of water/oil mix was recovered. An overflight this morning confirmed there is no noticeable sheen outside of the boomed areas.

The source of the spill has been identified as a sump located about a quarter-mile uphill from the VMT small boat harbor. The source at the sump has been isolated and secured since Monday, but some oily water is still entering the water in the vicinity of the small boat harbor as the spill makes its way downhill.

“Because of the nature of the spill and the snow cover in Valdez, determining the flow path and the spill amount is challenging,” said Crystal Smith, State On-Scene Coordinator and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation representative in the Unified Command. “While we are working on identifying the flow path, boom and skimming operations are containing and controlling the additional oily water that is coming into the harbor.”

To investigate possible flow paths, crews are digging through snow and ice, as well as dirt, gravel and fill.

“The Valdez Marine Terminal has multiple systems buried underground, so the crews must conduct careful research, surveying and deliberate planning before excavating the ground to determine the flow path,” said Commander Michael Franklin, Federal-On-Scene Coordinator and United States Coast Guard representative in the Unified Command. “This process can take time. Crews are working as safely and efficiently as possible.”

Response crews were able to shorten the inner containment boom overnight, concentrating the spill to maximize recovery. More than 4,300 feet of boom has been deployed as 14 Vessel of Opportunity boats and 13 Alyeska work boats are on scene. Their crews are placing boom and operating skimmers, providing surveillance, swapping out boom when needed, and providing logistical support such as fueling, water, and waste collection services.

There are more than 200 people locally involved in the response with 152 working in the field and 54 assigned to the command post, some working remotely from locations in Valdez and around the state. All are working in accordance with state, local and Alyeska company policies and mandates in order to protect the health of the workforce and the surrounding communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helicopter overflights resumed this morning and will continue as conditions allow. In addition, one unmanned aerial vehicle began overhead observation this morning.

There are no current operational impacts to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. An oil tanker, The Polar Discovery, was loaded with Alaska North Slope Crude without incident and departed around 3 a.m. today (Thursday, April 16). Another tanker, The Alaskan Explorer, arrived around 4 a.m. and is being loaded at VMT’s Berth 5, the farthest operational berth from the spill area.

The main priorities of the response remain the safety of response personnel and the community, protection of the environment, and open communication with the public and stakeholders throughout the response.

For information and updates on the response, visit www.alyeskaresponds.com and the ADEC site http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/ppr/spill-information/response/2020/02-vmt-sump-oily-water-spill/.

Press Release April 16, 130 p.m

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Overhead photo of the VMT Small Boat Harbor looking west.

 

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Overhead photo of the VMT Small Boat Harbor looking east.

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Press Release April 15, 2:45 p.m.

Date: 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Unified Command continues response to Valdez Marine Terminal spill

VALDEZ, Alaska – Response and recovery work on the water and on the ground continued overnight and into today in response to the spill at the Valdez Marine Terminal (VMT).

The source of the spill has been identified as a sump located uphill from the VMT small boat harbor. There is no continuing discharge of oil from this source. The cause of the spill is still under investigation. As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 610 barrels (25,620 gallons) of water/oil mix was recovered. An overflight this morning confirmed there is no noticeable sheen outside of the boomed areas.

“As residents of the Sound, we recognize and share the concerns of communities, and those of Alaskans across the state, and we are working hard to execute this work thoughtfully and thoroughly,” said Mike Day, Incident Commander and Alyeska representative in the Unified Command. “We’ve made steady progress in a short time, which has put us in a position for further success as we continue the work ahead. We will continue to hold the safety of our responders and the surrounding communities as top priorities while we work around the clock to resolve this incident.”

Engineers, inspectors and operations technicians are working to identify the spill’s flow route. Resources are arriving on terminal to excavate the area around the sump to help identify spill boundaries and potential depth.

There are 14 Vessels of Opportunity in addition to a number of Alyeska workboats conducting response efforts on the water, placing boom and operating skimmers to collect product, providing surveillance, swapping out boom when needed, and providing logistical support such as fueling and water services. Precautionary booming to protect two sensitive areas in Port Valdez ­– the nearby Solomon Gulch Hatchery and the Valdez Duck Flats – is complete.

There are more than 180 people involved in the response; in the field, from the command post, and remotely. They are working in accordance with state, local and Alyeska company policies and mandates in order to protect the health of the workforce and the surrounding communities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are no current operational impacts to TAPS. There was one personnel injury reported during overnight work. A worker accidently struck themselves in the jaw using a tool, was seen by a medic, and released to work. One deceased seagull was collected in a boomed area overnight; numerous environment taskforces are either standing by or are on scene and continue surveying the area.

For the safety of response personnel and the public, a Temporary Flight Restriction zone has been established at 5,000 feet elevation and one mile in radius over the VMT working area.

An oil tanker, The California, was loaded with Alaska North Slope Crude without incident and departed around 9 a.m. today. Another tanker The Polar Discovery arrived later this morning and is being loaded at VMT’s Berth 5, the farthest operational berth from the spill area. The IMT determined that the spill is unrelated to VMT berth loading operations.

The main priorities of the response remain the safety of response personnel and the community, protection of the environment, and open communication with the public and stakeholders throughout the response

For information and updates on the response, visit www.alyeskaresponds.com and the ADEC site http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/ppr/spill-information/response/2020/02-vmt-sump-oily-water-spill/.

Press Release April 15, 245 p.m.

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These photographs were taken during an overflight of the Valdez Marine Terminal on Wednesday, April 15.

These photographs were taken during an overflight of the Valdez Marine Terminal on Wednesday, April 15.

 

 

Media Advisory – Unified Command established

Unified Command established

A Unified Command was established to facilitate the response to the ongoing incident at the Valdez Marine Terminal. The Unified Command consists of representatives from Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and the United States Coast Guard: Mike Day, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (Incident Commander), CDR Mike Franklin, USCG (Federal On-Scene Coordinator) and Crystal Smith, ADEC (State On-Scene Coordinator).

A Joint Information Center is committed to open communication with the public and stakeholders throughout the response. To contact the Joint Information Center, call (907) 834-6990.

For information and updates on the response, visit www.alyeskaresponds.com and the ADEC site at http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/ppr/spill-information/response/2020/02-vmt- sump-oily-water-spill/.

Media Advisory – Unified Command established 041420

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Alyeska responding to spill at Valdez Marine Terminal

For immediate release: April 14, 2020

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company stood up an Incident Management Team (IMT) on Monday night in response to the ongoing investigation and management of a spill to water at the Valdez Marine Terminal (VMT). As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, approximately 326 barrels (13,692 gallons) of oily water has been recovered.

On Sunday, April 12, at approximately 8 p.m., crews on the Terminal observed a sheen on water near the VMT small boat harbor. The spill volume is unknown at this time and the cause is under investigation.

Responders were on scene within the hour and continue response activities including deployment of sorbents sweeps, sausage boom and containment boom. A team of vessels were dispatched and continue deploying current buster boom while another team of responders is performing on-land cleanup. No injuries are reported and TAPS operations have not been impacted.

Alyeska and the IMT are committed to providing updates as information becomes available.

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Alyeska responding to spill at Valdez Marine Terminal