June 19, 2018
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Oil cleaned up, two birds treated after Portland Jetport spill

Pat Wellenbach | AP
Pat Wellenbach | AP
Portland International Jetport.
By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — The cleanup of 600 gallons of heating oil that spilled Thursday at the Portland Jetport went about as well as anyone could have hoped, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. Crews will be at the site again on Saturday to make sure their work is complete.

DEP spokeswoman Samantha DePoy-Warren said Friday a retention pond at the jetport and a cove in the Fore River captured most of the oil, which spilled when a pump didn’t shut down as it was designed to atop the jetport’s new terminal. The oil then flowed through a venting system and into the facility’s storm drains.

“From our department’s perspective, the containment and cleanup have been incredibly effective,” said DePoy-Warren late Friday afternoon. “Crews are planning on reconverging at the jetport [Saturday] to see if any further efforts are needed as we go through a couple more tide cycles.”

DePoy-Warren said crews from the DEP and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, workers from cleanup firm Clean Harbors and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the cleanup, which involved floating absorbent materials and oil-collecting machinery in the water. She said the cove in the Fore River created a sort of swirling eddy which prevented most of the oil from escaping, though she said a sheen still could be seen on the water late Friday.

Workers found two birds, woodcocks, saturated with oil in the retention pond. DePoy-Warren said they were taken to the Center for Wildlife in York for treatment.

“We’re continuing to take steps to make sure there’s no further impact on wildlife and habitat,” she said. “We feel pretty confident that it was only those two birds that were affected.”

DePoy-Warren said she doesn’t know whether the spill will result in any fines or enforcement action against the jetport, but the DEP plans to work with the facility to make sure another spill doesn’t happen.

“Six hundred gallons is a lot of fuel,” she said. “Our real focus at this point is to make sure the environment was protected.”

A call to the Jetport was not returned by press time.

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