|Document Type:||Contract Report|
|Title:||Columbia River oil spill study, June-July 1978|
|Author/Editor:||Theodore H. Blahm, Joseph T. Durkin, George R. Snyder, Travis C. Coley, Robert L. Emmett|
|Publisher:||National Marine Fisheries Service|
|Contracting Agency:||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Seattle, Washington|
The purpose of this report is to outline the conduct and results of a short-term study done subsequent to an oil spill in the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon. During the evening of 27 June 1978, the MS Toyota Maru No. 10 ruptured a fuel tank while hauling anchor near Columbia River Mile (rm) 102.5. Between 30 and 58 thousand gallons of Bunker C (no. 6) fuel oil were released into the Columbia River.
Our major concern was the potential impact of the oil on juvenile chinook salmon (approximately 80 million) that were in the peak of their downstream migration; the oil could have affected them from rm 102.5 to the ocean. Also of concern was the potential impact on other fish and aquatic organisms.
Bunker C oil components were found in the sediments from rm 105 to 4.5. Globules of Bunker C residue were dragged off of the bottom with leadlines of nets at all beach-seine sites. Residue was also found 13 inches deep in the beach sand near rm 72. Oil in and on the bottom of the river and deep in the beach sand could not be removed, and subsequently it could cause alterations of the aquatic environment (from leaching, etc.) resulting in a degrading biological affect of some degree and consequences. In addition:
We did not find dead fish. Our observations were based on catches of live fish, which could be survivors of pre-spill populations. Indications from the data collected, and our observations in relation to finfish, benthic invertebrates, and sediments are that changes occurred which demonstrate an impact on the biota of the Columbia River and its estuary. However, even with extensive riverine fishery baseline data in the area of an oil spill and the downstream reach, it is unlikely, using the present assessment approach, that conclusions could be made regarding the extent of damage to finfish resources from a Bunker C spill of the magnitude of Toyota Maru No. 10.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has recently prepared guidelines for collection and handling of environmental samples for trace analyses of organic chemical contaminants and for microscopic examination. Chain of custody procedures are included in the guidelines; if followed precisely they will provide docume