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Brief: Oil Spill Contained within WAPA Plant

June 4, 2007 — V.I. Water and Power Authority personnel are nearly done cleaning up an oil spill that occurred early Sunday afternoon at WAPA's Richmond Power Plant on St. Croix.
The spill occurred while No. 2 diesel fuel oil was being bunkered during a regularly scheduled delivery, according to a WAPA news release. The spill was confined to the concrete-containment area at the base of the fuel tank.
No fuel was released into the Christiansted harbor, the release said. Approximately 53 barrels, or 2,200 gallons of diesel, spilled from a shipment of 10,000 barrels. Soil was contaminated and much of the cleanup consists of removing diesel-soaked dirt, the news release said.
“We have at this point completed moving contaminated soil from the base of the tank,” said WAPA spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn on Monday. “Tonight or early tomorrow they are replacing the removed soil with virgin dirt.”
The contaminated dirt had been placed in one of WAPA’s buildings for temporary storage before it is taken out of the territory for final disposal, the release said.
Dunn could not say how the spill occurred.
“The source of the leak and spill is still being investigated,” she said. “I just spoke to the plant supervisor and they are still looking at it. But there is no report back yet."
The oil spill poses no health risks to the general public, WAPA officials said. However, residents in the area of the Richmond plant who smell diesel fumes were instructed by WAPA to open all doors and windows to allow the breeze to blow through and carry away any unpleasant odors.
“We have to be concerned with the people in the neighboring area,” Dunn said. “At this point, most of the fumes have subsided, so it should be okay in that area again.”
The matter is being overseen by environmental regulators to assure there is no public health threat, Dunn said.
“The inspector from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources came in today to verify we have been doing the cleanup work properly and in accord with local and federal requirements,” she said. For more information, contact WAPA at 773-0150 or 773-2250.
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