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
Map of derelict barge location

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

Status updates

April 4, 2022

After surveying the area previously occupied by the derelict barge for contamination, divers removed four to six inches of sediment from the area. This included both oil, and oiled sediment. No new oil was observed on the shoreline, and no further cleanup was recommended. While some oil remains on the river’s bottom, we have successfully recovered the vast majority of the oil.

Over the next few weeks, you will begin to see a decrease in equipment and personnel in the area. Please be aware of signage and safety barriers in the vicinity as we complete work on the clean-up.

February 14, 2022

Ecology plans to begin sediment clean-up in the area previously occupied by the Deep River derelict barge. You might encounter additional vehicles, heavy equipment, and personnel at or near the staging area off of Miller Point and Waranka Roads, as we continue work on the clean-up. Please be aware of signage and safety barriers that are in the vicinity. The WDFW Oneida Water Access Area will continue to be open to the public.

January 24, 2022

The WDFW Oneida Water Access Area will re-open to the public on Tuesday, February 1. Planning is underway for the removal of oiled sediment around where the barge was previously moored. Equipment and personnel will continue to be in the area as we work on cleaning up the site.

December 22, 2021

The barge has now been deconstructed, and is in the process of being disposed of. Using funds from the DNR Derelict Vessel Removal Program, the barge has been broken down and will be hauled off for recycling. The WDFW Oneida Water Access Area will continue to be closed until December 31 due to response equipment on site and continued clean up. 

Barge being deconstructed.

December 21, 2021

The boat launch at WDFW’s Oneida Water Access Area continues to be closed during removal operations. We continue to remove oil and other pollutants from the barge, and are in the process of decontamination. Once this is complete, we will begin to deconstruct and dispose of the barge. 

We are in the process of assessing if sediments have been impacted by sinking or submerged oil. 

Excavator bucket scooping out oily sludge from barge.

December 16, 2021

The barge was successfully floated down river, lifted out of the water, and placed at the WDFW Deep River Boat Launch. Once the barge was placed into a secondary containment on the launch, the removal team saw that a compartment containing oily water was leaking into the wrap. The containment wrap was successful at containing the release, which was subsequently pumped into totes. 

Following the removal of oil from the barge, the barge will be dismantled and disposed of. Additionally, preparations for the removal of oiled shoreline vegetation are underway.

Barge being lifted out of river by crane.

December 13, 2021

Operations are planned to begin December 14 to fit a structural cradle around the barge, tow it down river to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Deep River Boat Launch, and lift the barge out of the water with a crane. Once on shore, the oil will be removed and the barge decontaminated. 

The boat launch is expected to be closed until December 31. For public safety and to facilitate the removal of the barge, WDFW’s Oneida Water Access Area will be closed to the public during removal operations. The WDFW will reopen the boat launch once operations are concluded. 

After the barge is removed, Ecology will perform an assessment to determine if sediments have been impacted by sinking or submerged oil. Oiled shoreline vegetation and debris will also be removed and disposed of.

Location of abandoned barge and WDFW Deep River Boat Launch.

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

News releases

Media contact

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