Astoria Oil Spill
by Anna Marum
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard were still cleaning up a sheen of oil plaguing the waters of the Columbia River near Astoria on Monday.
The sheen was first spotted Thursday afternoon near Astoria's Cannery Pier Hotel, and it soon spread about five miles along the river. On Saturday, the Coast Guard reported that a salvage company it had contracted had found a 20-foot-long tank underneath a pier near the hotel.
As much as 4,200 gallons of oil could spill into the water, the Coast Guard said. It's unknown how much oil has leaked so far.
And it's unclear whether the tank is the source of the oil, though the sheen is concentrated near the tank, said Alissa Flockerzi, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard.
For now, the Coast Guard is overseeing vessel decontamination and checking on the surrounding environment, the agency said in a news release. So far, no one has reported any environmental or wildlife impact from the oil spill.
The Coast Guard says the decontamination process will keep oil within the contamination area and enable vessels to leave the marina without bringing more oil into the waterways.
Flockerzi said the cleanup could take as long as weeks, because the Coast Guard will need to contract with cranes to lift the tank out of the water.
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