Hood Canal shellfish warning issued after Bangor Naval Base oil spill
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The sheen from Monday’s oil spill is visible at the Hood Canal Bridge during a flyover by the Washington Department of Ecology. — Washington Department of Ecology

Peninsula Daily News
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PORT TOWNSEND — An oil spill at Bangor Naval Base has prompted a warning for Hood Canal shellfish harvesters.

After Monday’s spill, estimated at 2,000 gallons, the state Department of Health issued a shellfish advisory for Hood Canal from Brown Point on the Toandos Peninsula to the Hood Canal Bridge.

State health officials are advising people not to harvest or eat shellfish from that area until further notice because of the possibility of contamination by pollutants.

Jefferson County Public Health officials posted emergency closure signs at the public boat ramp at Hicks County Park, the only public access point on the western shore.

The closure includes Case Shoal, DNR-57B and DNR-59 shellfish beaches that are accessible only by boat.

Navy spokesman Tom Danaher said the spill occurred while transferring oily water off a submarine.

A failure in a transfer system on the pier caused a tank to overflow, spilling the mixture into Hood Canal.

An absorbent boom was placed around the spill at Delta Pier, but some escaped into the canal.

The Navy, state Department of Ecology and Coast Guard have been working to clean up the spill since, Danaher said.

“We’re booming and recovering everything we can at the source,” he said. “We have been working every daylight hour.”

The spill had stretched at least 10 miles north of Bangor by Tuesday, when it was visible at the Hood Canal Bridge as a sheen on the water.

However, those involved in the cleanup say it is shrinking, Danaher said.

“We think that this stretch of surface oily waste will be smaller by tomorrow and smaller yet the next day,” he said.

“We think it is dissipating.”

A primary concern is the shoreline and the health of shellfish, he said, adding that he has had no word that contamination was found.

“We have been in touch with all the tribal members that have rights in this area,” he said.

Jefferson County Public Health will observe nearby areas and post additional signs if needed.

Recreational shellfish harvesters can get current information about closures anywhere in Washington state at the DOH website at http://tinyurl.com/pdn-shellfish or by phoning the state hotline at 800-562-5632.

Questions about the status of local Jefferson County beaches can also be answered by Jefferson County Public Health at 360-385-9444.

Last modified: February 12. 2014 7:37PM
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