Cleanup now under way at Tesoro spill in Nikiski

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating the cause of a recent oil spill near the Tesoro Refinery in Nikiski.

On Dec. 18, the facility operator noticed blackened snow near the wastewater tank at the Tesoro facility during a nightly inspection, according to a Dec. 27 situation report from the Department of Environmental Conservation. The company estimated that approximately 165 gallons of a crude oil and water mixture had spilled, according to the report.

About 55 gallons were spilled into the secondary containment area around the wastewater tank and 110 gallons outside the containment area, according to the report.

The company shut down all its pipelines running to and from the wastewater tank and emptied the leaking pipeline as well as other lines in the area. Tesoro’s response contractor began cleaning up and has removed pooled oily water, oiled snow and contaminated soils, according to the report. The oil had permeated at least down to a valve box buried 7.5 feet below the ground surface — approximately 3.5 feet of oily water was found in the valve box on Dec. 22, according to the report.

Right now, the company is focusing on cleanup, said Jade Gamble, specialist for the Cook Inlet/Kodiak Unit Environmental Program. The cause of the leak is still under investigation.

“They’re just continuing along,” she said. “Right now, our priority is just chipping (the oil) out.”

The facility is staffed 24/7, so the cleanup continued through the holiday and the workers are still investigating the cause, Gamble said. There’s no clear timeline for concluding the investigation, she said.

“Part of the line is subsurface, and they’re working on excavating that,” she said.

 

Though the wastewater tank is about 1,000 feet from Cook Inlet, the oil did not reach the inlet and there were no observed impacts to wildlife, according to the report.

Elizabeth Earl is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion. She can be reached at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Homer City Council candidate Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Traffic moves north along the Sterling Highway shortly after a fatal crash closed the highway for several hours Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The state is seeking federal funding for a project aimed at improving safety along the Sterling Highway between mileposts 82.5 to 94, or between Sterling and Soldotna. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to federal funding for Sterling Highway project

The project is aimed at improving highway safety between Sterling and Soldotna.

Ethan Benton (left) and Laura Walters of Kodiak win the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot." (Screenshot)
State names winners in 1st vaccine lottery

A Valdez and Kodiak resident took home checks for $49,000 each.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism.
Vandalism ends Soldotna library program

The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends.

Juneau Empire file
The Coast Guard medevaced a 90-year-old suffering stroke-like symptoms near Ketchikan aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium like this one, seen in Juneau, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Coast Guard medevacs man from yacht near Ketchikan

The 90-year-old suffered symptoms of a stroke.

James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Hobo Jim’ opens up about recent terminal cancer diagnosis

Varsos was named Alaska’s official “state balladeer” in 1994.

Most Read