SF Bay Oil Spill - Info From Surfrider

By on Fri, November 9, 2007

Thanks Wes Womack at San Francisco Surfrider Chapter for the information about the oil spill.  He says:

I am getting dozens of emails today asking how Surfrider are going to help with the oil spill cleanup. I’ve also received word that parts of Ocean Beach already have oil in the water, so we’re recommending that everyone remain out of the water at OB for the time being.

I just talked to woman who is in charge of oil spill control at my work (BCDC), She is out at Fort Mason where all the involved agencies are meeting and working from. She told me to call the Coast Guard’s Public Info Line at (510) 772-8865. I left a message to see what environmental groups and the public can do to help. I also called the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary office at (415) 561-6622. They are conducting surveys to see the damage of the spill (counting animals, taking water samples, ect).

The Farallones contact gave me the following information that we may want to pass on to others:

If people see oil in the water, they should call (985) 781-0804
If people see oiled wildlife, they should call (877) 823- 6926. The animals will be picked up and taken to a facility to be cared for.

As for beach clean-up, people have to be specially trained (HAZMAT) to conduct an oil spill clean-up. The beaches are closed for health and safety for the time being. But, I am sure that volunteers will be needed at some point. We should contact our volunteers when the professional clean-up crew or other agencies or groups need volunteers. As far as I can tell, they are not having the public help yet. I’ll let you know if i hear anything more.

For those of you who haven’t heard, a cargo ship hit the Bay Bridge yesterday (Wednesday 11/7/07), spilling 58,000 gallons of oil into SF Bay, 8,000 of which was contained at the ship by the CoastGuard. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez was 11 million gallons, so the spill is relatively small. The latest story I can find is here: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_739 9949?nclick_check=1.

Take special note that all beaches inside the mouth of the bay are posted and closed. The oil could spread to Ocean Beach by today or tomorrow.

The Coastguard are deploying all available satff to start the cleanup process. Our chapter have no formal plans for cleanup at this time. Technically our chapter focuses on Ocean Beach specifically, however if people want to get involved in the general cleanup, I suggest starting by contacting the CoastGuard. I can’t seem to find anything online pointing volunteers in any certain direction. Our core group are discussing scenarios that would involve cleanup of Ocean Beach if that becomes necessary in the next few days.

Most of all, be safe this weekend and keep an eye on the news, as the oil could potentially drift to Ocean Beach. And if Ft. Point and Dead Man’s are firing this weekend, you may need to give it a miss for your own safety. Spread the word!