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Press Release | Nov. 30, 2023

Coast Guard approves oil recovery plan as clean-up efforts continue for WAPA’s tank 11 discharge, Lindbergh Bay oil spill in St. Thomas

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands — The Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator approved Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA) Oil Removal Action Plan Wednesday, as clean-up efforts continue for the tank 11 diesel discharge at the Randolph Harley Power Plant in St. Thomas and the affected area of Lindbergh Bay. 

The Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator received and approved WAPA’s Oil Removal Action Plan in consultation with members of the Caribbean Regional Response Team (CRRT).

“Cleanup efforts continue to move in the right direction,” said Capt. Robert M. Pirone, Coast Guard Acting Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the response. “There are a lot of moving parts as clean-up crews utilize heavy mechanical equipment to expedite oil recovery activities and build access roads while working in a challenging geographical landscape.  These efforts seek to ensure the oil is cleaned up as soon as possible to remove this pollution threat from the environment in the best and safest possible way.”

WAPA oil clean-up crews are employing a low-pressure high-flow of water to flood the oil from sediment and have it flow to the constructed collection points where pooled oil is recovered via the use of sorbent materials, skimmers, and vacuum trucks. Coast Guard Sector and Atlantic Strike Team personnel will continue monitoring this activity through the weekend.

In accordance with the approved oil removal plan, WAPA crews have also completed the construction of an access road on the western side of the peninsula to allow machinery access for the completion of the required subsurface plume assessment and modeling of the oil. 

As of Thursday, WAPA oil recovery crews at the facility have collected approximately 26,000 gallons of oily water mixture from the discharge tank’s secondary containment and the affected land, and they have removed 150 cubic yards of contaminated soil. In the Lindbergh Bay area, oil recovery crews have collected 7,900 gallons of oily water mixture and removed 72 cubic yards of contaminated soil.

The CRRT Is co-chaired by the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard with membership and includes participation from approximately 20 federal, commonwealth and territorial government agencies, which serve as the regional body for planning and preparedness activities before a response to a major or other significant oil or hazardous substance incident, and for the coordination and advice during such response actions.

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