A 15,000-gallon oil spill was reported in the Arctic village of Shungnak, Alaska, according to the state’s Department of Environment and Conservation (ADEC). State officials are currently monitoring the situation after the spill was initially reported on June 20.
Shungnak is located in Northwest Alaska and is a native village in the area. Officials said the cause of the spill was from an overfilled fuel tank during a barge delivery. Residents and a response team on site cleaned up the spilled oil and pumped it into containers. An excavator also removed contaminated soil.
According to the Arctic Sounder, “A response crew from Shungnak responded to the spill immediately, removing the spilled heating oil using sorbent material and also by pumping it into containers.”
Officials are concerned about two areas close to the spill, the Kobuk River and the drinking water source for the village. Kobuk River is 160 feet from the spill and the drinking water supply is only 295 feet away. Department officials are in contact with local response teams but coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions limit officials accessing the spill site.
It’s unclear how much of the spill was cleaned up but, “ADEC will continue to monitor the response actions and review plans being developed to clean up contaminated soils from the area and prevent heating oil migration to nearby resources,” the agency said.
Read more about the recent oil spill in Russia and learn more about Alaskan kids taking climate change policy into their own hands.
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