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Clean-Up of Oil Spill Around Richmond Plant Near Completion

(Friday, January 29, 2016)



Officials of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority said today that Thursday’s oil spill caused by malfunctioning oil/water separation equipment is fully under control. “Initial emergency activities and measures are completed and the final phase of the industrial cleanup including the navigable waters and impacted shoreline is nearing completion,” said Julio Rhymer, WAPA Acting Chief Executive Officer. He added that the internal investigation into the cause of the spill is more than 25% complete.

            WAPA personnel and contractors continued the clean-up of the waters in and around the fuel dock and along portions of the impacted shoreline which sits to the east of the Richmond power plant. In addition to the clean-up efforts, Rhymer said WAPA has conducted a marine survey of boats currently anchored or moored in the general area of the Christiansted harbor to determine any impact resulting from the oil spill. “WAPA will attempt contact with the boat owners and will issue a general notice via the media in order to coordinate a cleaning of any vessels stained by the oil release.”

            Rhymer said the portion of the clean-up initiative involving the shoreline and the water around the fuel dock is complete. “The focus is now inland where we are retrieving bags of absorbent pads and other materials that were used to remove the oil sheen as well as the contaminated seaweed from the affected sections of the harbor. Additionally on Saturday and Sunday, we will be coordinating the clean-up of boats soiled by the spilled oil, while investigating the malfunction of the separation equipment.” Rhymer added that the Authority is hoping to get an “all clear” from the Coast Guard during the course of the weekend signaling a completion of the clean-up operation.

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