Environment

Diesel Spill at St. Thomas Power Plant Under Control, No Harm to Waterways Detected

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The diesel spill incident at the Randolph Harley Power Plant in St. Thomas, which came to light on October 25, is under expert management by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is overseeing the comprehensive response to the spill, ensuring environmental safety and containment.

As part of the response, approximately 26,000 gallons of diesel mixed with water has been recovered from the plant’s secondary containment facility and the surrounding land. This proactive measure was taken following the spill from tank number 11 at the Randolph Harley Power Plant, operated by the Water and Power Authority.

The Coast Guard, in their latest update dated November 1, indicated that the tank in question has been emptied, leaving behind only sludge and residual materials. The current phase of the response involves meticulous cleaning of the tank and removal of all residual substances.

Officials have confirmed the complete removal of diesel from the secondary containment area. The focus now shifts to decontamination efforts in this zone and identifying the source of the leakage that caused diesel to escape the containment area.

Environmental protection measures are in full swing. Teams have constructed trenches to guide the diesel towards collection points for efficient recovery. Additionally, absorbent materials have been deployed to prevent further dispersion of the spill. Plans are underway for the safe disposal of the contaminated soil, as per the Coast Guard’s statements.

While there have been no reported negative impacts on nearby waterways, the Coast Guard remains vigilant. They anticipate the arrival of more personnel from the Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team to assist in evaluating and mitigating any potential waterway impacts.

Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Sanders, serving as the federal on-scene coordinator representative, acknowledged challenges like rain and terrain affecting the response. He praised the substantial progress made and commended the Water and Power Authority’s cooperative efforts in swiftly addressing the spill, with a shared commitment to community health and environmental conservation.

The incident was first reported to Coast Guard personnel in St. Thomas in late October. Following a report to the National Response Center, the Coast Guard Sector San Juan initiated further actions, including a site visit that confirmed the extent of the spill, thus setting the stage for ongoing investigations and response efforts.

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