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Marina Residents Fume Over Estuary Petroleum Spill

Barnhill Marina residents on Alameda’s north shore, some two miles from an oil sheen detected on the water further east on Tuesday evening, are still suffering from the fumes today.

Yesterday, the Alameda Fire Department sent a community alert advising of a possible fuel spill in the water near Alameda Marina, which is across Brooklyn Basin from Coast Guard Island.

According to the alert, fire crews could see something, possibly fuel, floating on the water but were unable to determine the source, or the size of the potential spill.

Alameda firefighters then turned the matter over to the United States Coast Guard.

(According to the Bay City News Service, Alameda Fire Capt. James Colburn told a reporter that “crews arrived and found sheen on the water covering a large area, but were unable to determine just how much of the substance was there because it was dark outside.” As of press time, Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen had not responded to an Action Alameda News inquiry about whether or not a $500,000 fire boat, purchased last year and which reportedly has a heat-seeking device to find persons in the water at night, has spotlights which could have been used to help determine the scope of any spill.)

Now tides have carried the substance roughly two miles west to Barnhill Marina, which is “inundated,” according to Liz Williams, a houseboat resident there. “It’s clearly visible and everywhere. The marina reeks of fuel. It’s the worst I’ve seen.”

Williams also pointed to media photos of the clean-up effort, saying, “the clean-up efforts so far seem inadequate. It looks like they’re trying to use paper towels to clean up a 2-mile long diesel fuel slick.”

Area residents have reported the incident to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

There is no word yet on the source of the spill.

1 comment to Marina Residents Fume Over Estuary Petroleum Spill

  • Sherry Simmons

    Thanks for the article, Dave…we are still fuming because there is still a heave oil film on our waters in the Barnhill Marina. I spent most of yesterday on the phone with governmental agencies…mostly just leaving voice mail messages because human beings aren’t available. I was told by one regional organization that they were short of staff so they may be able to come on Friday…three days after the spill. I have asthma and COPD and have been coughing furiously because of the toxic fumes…I can’t believe the attitude not being more pro-active….after all, this is our environment….Sherry Simmons