FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 2:30 a.m., November 14, 2011
News release #2
Media contact: Dieter Bohrmann, Department of Ecology, 360-701-7401
TULALIP RESERVATION – The Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, and Tulalip Fire Department remain on the scene of a tank leaking ammonia on a marine beach on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Ammonia is a corrosive gas that is toxic if inhaled.
Because of the chemical and toxicological hazards of ammonia – and the challenges of removing the tank – the responding agencies have decided to leave the tank in place to vent over a period of two or three days. This slow release will allow the nearby ammonia concentrations to remain below safe levels for residents in the surrounding area.
During the slow release, security measures will remain in place at the site, and remotely-operated chemical monitors will be maintained to ensure ammonia vapor concentration remains below safe levels. After the remaining ammonia has vented, crews will remove the tank for disposal.
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, but it does not appear to be full. 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 odor 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. 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 and remain a safe distance away.
More information about the cleanup efforts will be provided as it becomes available.
Ecology Spills Program (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html)
Ecology homepage (www.ecy.wa.gov/)