Friday, June 28, 2013

Around the Sound: Derelict vessels in spotlight

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

Boats abandoned around Puget Sound and in other Washington waterways pose significant environmental risks and possibly some big cleanup bills for taxpayers.

TVW’s “The Impact” program took a look this week at the problems that derelict vessels can cause. The report begins at about the 5:25 mark.

In the past two years, Ecology’s Spills Program had a major role in responding to two large-scale environmental problems caused by derelict vessels. In 2012, the fishing vessel Deep Sea (shown at right in a KIRO-TV image) caught fire and then sank near the fertile shellfish beds of Penn Cove off Whidbey Island. And in 2011, the old barge Davy Crockett was found leaking into the Columbia River.

Cleaning up those two incidents alone cost state taxpayers millions of dollars.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a derelict vessel removal program. Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation earlier this year to boost efforts to clear such vessels from state waters.

In other environmental news, Ecology’s Lucy McInerney authored this guest editorial recently in the Bellingham Herald on some major cleanup work in and around Bellingham Bay.

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