Coast Guard looking for cause of oil spill off Cape Porpoise, pegs cleanup cost at more than $20,000

Posted Sept. 03, 2014, at 9:17 a.m.

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The U.S. Coast Guard continues to investigate the cause of a large oil spill that appeared earlier this week along a beach on Bickford Island, off Cape Porpoise.

Coast Guard officials received a report Sunday afternoon of oil covering 100 to 150 yards of the public beach and rocks near the Pier 77 restaurant and docks, according to Lt. Cmdr. Timm Balunis.

Working with the Kennebunkport police and fire departments, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Coast Guard personnel spent three days removing contaminated seaweed and sand from the beach, and cleaning oil off rocks.

Balunis said officials are not sure where the oil came from, but will continue to investigate the source.

“One of our theories is that somebody may have pumped their bilge,” Balunis said. “[The oil] was somewhat thick — certainly not as thick as crude oil, but thick.”

No wildlife was affected, he said, although officials will continue to monitor the area.

Balunis estimated the cost of the cleanup effort at $20,000 to $30,000.