Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Around the Sound: Unannounced exercise tests local spill response readiness

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

As the horrific environmental disaster plays out in the Gulf of Mexico, Ecology on Monday (May 10) used a surprise exercise to test local responders around Puget Sound.

The point was to make sure our oil spill readiness hasn’t been compromised by the deployment of about 25 experienced private contract responders to the Gulf. During their absence, responders from other companies are backfilling these positions at our refineries, oil-handling facilities, and maritime industry.

They need to be able “to mount a rapid, aggressive and well-coordinated response if an oil spill happened in our waters today,” said Dale Jensen, manager of Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Program.

Activities took place in Sound waters near Anacortes, Bellingham, Neah Bay, Port Angeles, Seattle, and Tacoma.

Here’s some of the media coverage of the drill:

The recent fuel spill at Dash Point State Park illustrates why we must be vigilant to protect our local waters.

Ecology also doing other activities to keep pollution out of the Sound. One way is to provide money to make needed improvements to water systems, sewer plants and more.

Right now, we’re encouraging the public to comment on the list of clean water projects to receive loans and grants worth a combined $108 million in 2011.

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