Deep River derelict barge spill

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

On November 4, 2021, a derelict barge was reported by a property owner. It is located in the Deep River and has been there for an unknown length of time.

Summary information

Date of incident: November 4, 2021

Rosburg, WA

Type of incident: Diesel and lube oil
Cause of incident:
Responsible party:
Map of derelict barge location

Location of derelict barge on the Deep River in Rosburg, WA.

Status updates

November 20, 2021

The oil has been identified as an emulsified mixture of diesel and lube oil. No PCBs or high levels of RCRA metals were detected. Based on the analytical results, the oil is not considered a Washington State dangerous waste. 

The USCG's Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT) estimates 1,155 gallons of oily sludge remains in the barge. SERT is reviewing the proposed salvage and removal plans. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has given us permission to use their boat launch for removal.  

November 15, 2021

Clean Harbors continues to monitor the barge, which remains stable. Weathered sheen and patches of oil are still being observed within the boomed area, and are being collected with sorbent material. Clean Harbors is adding snare boom in the hard-boomed area to enhance passive recovery.

Ecology is coordinating with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Derelict Vessel Removal Program (DVRP) for assistance with final disposal of the barge, and DNR has started the 30-day process to take custody of the barge. 

November 9, 2021

The response team is still evaluating options for cleaning out the barge. The USCG's Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT) will be on scene this week to evaluate the structural stability of the barge.

The barge visqueen wrapping is holding, and patching by the divers has stopped the ingress of water. The barge is still hard boomed and lined with adsorbent boom. The boom is being tended to and changed daily. 

An additional 1,500 gallons of oily water waste has been removed from the barge.

November 7, 2021

Divers were onsite to conduct a hull assessment and to patch holes in the barge. They patched holes that they could reach safely but were not able to access holes underneath the barge due to safety concerns. After patching, the entire barge was wrapped in Visqueen.

The patches and the Visqueen appear to have stopped intrusion of water into the hull. Clean Harbors plans to resume pumping oily water from the barge tomorrow. 

The USCG and Ecology are continuing to evaluate options for pollution removal. Ecology is also planning for cleanup of impacted vegetation along the shoreline as well as potential sediment impacts.

Barge in Deep River surrounded by boom

November 6, 2021

At least one hole was discovered in the hull of the barge when Clean Harbors resumed pumping oily water. Clean Harbors had removed approximately 300 gallons of oily water, but stopped pumping when the hole was discovered. Arrangement are being made to perform a survey and patch holes if possible.

A visual sediment survey was conducted and tar balls were observed. Plans are being made for shore-side oiled vegetation cutting. 

The barge has been repositioned, and sorbent material was removed and replaced with clean material. Hard boom remains in place around the barge.

November 5, 2021

The barge is actively sheening and there is vegetation coated in thick oil on the river bank. We do not know if there is sunken oil beneath. The barge is approximately 15-feet by 40-feet, and there are two holds on the barge that contain a thick oil, with water standing on top of the oil. We estimate there is about 1,600 gallons of oil onboard. There are two additional holds on the barge that are empty. The amount of material released is unknown. 

An Ecology responder is on scene today with the USCG, who has hired Clean Harbors to assess the barge and begin cleanup. They have currently pumped off about 600 gallons of oily water, and we plan to start removing the oily sludge after the water has been removed. The barge is surrounded by hard boom, and the team will be back on-scene tomorrow to continue cleanup.  

November 4, 2021

A landowner reported stranded black oil in the vegetation on the shore next to a derelict barge. The barge has been confirmed as the source of the oil. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has hired a contractor to perform a cleanup. Ecology will also be on scene to assist and collect samples to determine what type of oil it is.  

The property owner doesn’t know where the barge came from.

Derelict barge in Deep River

Media contact

Jasmin Adams, Communication Manager,, 360-464-0324, @ecysw