Sunday, November 13, 2011

Multiple agencies respond to ammonia release on Tulalip Indian Reservation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 12:05 a.m., November 14, 2011
Media contact: Dieter Bohrmann, Department of Ecology, 360-701-7401

TULALIP RESERVATION – The Washington Department of Ecology, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, Tulalip fire and fisheries departments and a cleanup contractor are responding to an ammonia release from a tank on a marine beach on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Ammonia is a corrosive gas that is toxic if inhaled.

Ecology has been on the scene since 4:30 p.m. Sunday and has hired NRC Environmental Services to conduct the cleanup effort. The contractor is currently performing an assessment to determine the safest means of removing the tank. EPA is monitoring air quality on the scene.

Ecology estimates the tank has capacity of up to 470 gallons of ammonia, or nearly 2,000 pounds. It is unknown how much ammonia was released or how much is in the tank. There are no homes in the immediate area, and no evacuations have been ordered. A nearby walking trail has been closed to the public until further notice. The ammonia is currently detectable at about 100 feet.

The origin of the tank is also unknown, but Ecology believes it has been in the water for several weeks and has been slowly releasing ammonia on the beach. The beach has been secured, but anyone coming upon the environmental response teams is asked to please respect the caution tape around the cleanup site.

More information about the release and cleanup efforts will be provided as it becomes available.


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