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Coast Guard, agencies respond to large sheen on Columbia River


U.S. Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology and Oregon Department of Environment Quality personnel responded Wednesday to a large sheen on the Columbia River that originated near Kalama, Washington, though it appeared to be dissipating later in the day.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and state personnel will continue to monitor the sheen and pollution responders have collected samples to assist in their investigation to determine the source of the spill, the Coast Guard said in a news release Wednesday evening.

The sheen was first observed mid=morning by the crews at the Temco grain terminal and aboard the Yaquina, a 193-foot hopper dredge.

Ecology members launched their boat to collect samples and find the leading edge of the sheen, which continued to move downriver and reached Longview, Washington, around noon. Ecology personnel completed an overflight of the sheen at noon.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from the sector conducted a follow up overflight at around 2:45 p.m. to track its movement and size on the sheen and estimated the sheen was three miles long, also confirming there was no longer any signs of the sheen in Kalama.

The information from both overflights indicates to responders that the source is no longer actively discharging into the river. Responders assessed the oil in the water and determined it is too thin to recover, as well as confirmed it is dissipating.

Responders have not observed any distressed wildlife, the Coast Guard said.

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