State environmental officials and the U.S. Coast Guard are investigating an oil spill at Statter Harbor in Juneau’s Auke Bay.
Sarah Moore is a spill prevention coordinator with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. She says people first noticed a rainbow sheen and heavy, black oil in the harbor sometime Sunday.
“It looks to be some kind of a used motor oil is our best guess at (this) time, and we’re still trying to identify the source,” she says.
The Coast Guard notified DEC of the spill after receiving a report around 7:30 last night. By the time officials arrived, Moore says it was too dark to start cleanup.
She says the sheen was originally estimated at 500 feet by 1,000 feet in size, but it’s hard to tell how much oil spilled. By this morning, she says the heavier oil was mostly collected in the corners of the floats in Statter Harbor.
Moore says a variety of tools are being deployed to soak up the spill.
“We have the sorbent material, which is referred to often as diapers. And it’s that white, thick material that collects just the oil and not water, and so we’ve been using that in a lot of the corners,” Moore says. “We’ve also been using something that’s called snare, which looks a lot like a high school cheerleader’s pompom… And then we’ve also been using just some regular containment boom to keep it in as small an area as possible.”
Moore says the oil most likely came from a vessel. DEC and the Coast Guard are investigating the exact cause.
She says there have been no reports of impacts to wildlife.