Oil sheen alert mobilizes Citizens for a Healthy Bay

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Motor oil from a car collision earlier in the day had leaked into a storm drain then leaked into the Foss Waterway. Photos courtesy of CHB

On Dec. 28, Citizens for a Healthy Bay Executive Director Melissa Malott issued the following report concerning an oil sheen on the Foss Waterway that was reported by an observant Tacoma resident.

Late yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call. There was an oil sheen on the Foss Waterway. The caller said it looked like it was growing. I went to check it out right away.

The sheen was growing, and it was starting to get dark. I looked around to find where the contamination was getting into the water.

It didn’t take long to find where the pollution was coming from.

I immediately called the City of Tacoma. City staff responded in minutes with materials to capture and triage the spill until morning. We set up a boom to contain the spill.

The City of Tacoma’s Environmental Services staff responded quickly with the materials needed to deal with the spill.

Looking into what caused the contamination, the City found that motor oil from a car collision earlier in the day had leaked into a storm drain. Taking action right away, City staff cleaned up the catch basin in the storm drain system that still contained motor oil. They are continuing to catch and absorb any further motor oil that makes its way to the water.

 

Keeping our waters clean is a big job. Citizens for a Healthy Bay is Tacoma’s dedicated clean water advocate, and we take this job seriously:

  • We patrol Tacoma’s waters at least twice a week for pollution or behavior that could result in pollution.
  • We coordinate with state and local agencies to prevent and respond to pollution.
  • We track polluters to ensure they aren’t violating their permits.

However, we can’t be everywhere at once. We depend on members of the public, like the person who called us yesterday, to know about active pollution events.

So, thanks is due.

Thank you to the City of Tacoma’s Environmental Services staff for responding so quickly with the materials needed to deal with the spill.

A big thank you to one of our local eyes-on-the-water neighbors who alerted us to this issue.

And thank you for supporting our work to keep these waters clean. We can’t do it alone, and are grateful your support funds our ability to protect clean water.

Donations to Citizens for a Healthy Bay are always warmly appreciated and put to great use in helping to keep pollution from spoiling our beautiful city. Learn more at www.HealthyBay.org.

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