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Abandoned Bunker Barges

Norfolk, Virginia | 1995-Oct-06

Initial Notification: NOAA was notified of this incident on October 1, 1995, by MSO Hampton Roads. Analysis of samples taken from the abandoned barges was a high priority during this response. If it was discovered that the material onboard was not an oily material that could be categorized as a "waste oil," but rather contained high levels of chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the safety of site workers and the funding mechanism for the cleanup operation would have to be reconsidered. NOAA participated with MSO Hampton Roads in several meetings before removal was started and by telephone during the removal operations. The goals of the sampling program and the details of sample results were discussed during these meetings. For example, sample analysis on the T/B Bunker Delaware indicated waste oil in all tanks with waste oil and some traces of benzene in #3 and #4 port tanks only. The level of benzene concentration in these tanks was specifically documented as part of the safety program, but the other appropriate reason for the testing was to determine levels of benzene that were needed to categorize the waste for disposal and/or resale purposes. NOAA supported this response for 10 days. USCG district 5. Keyword: Abandoned Barge Act.

Incident Details
Products of concern:waste oil
Total amount at risk of spill: 665,000 gallons
Latitude (approximate): 36° 8.00′ North
Longitude (approximate): 76° 23.00′ West