290 gallons of oil leaked into Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s basement on May 23, the cause? A gauge failed on one of the boilers used to heat water.
“I think the most important thing is that there is no continuous fuel leak, that was never the case after the first day, the residual amount that did get into the water, we’re cleaning that up. We’re going to keep going forward with that effort as long as we need to,” said Edward Ricks, Chief Information Officer.
After the rains from Bonnie this weekend, it was discovered that some amount of that oil made its way into the nearby Beaufort river.
“It’s fuel oil number 5, we’re learning a little about it, and the cleanup company says its a non-hazardous material, and they’ve given us a statement to that effect. But its still not right, and it doesn’t belong on the water, doesn’t belong outside, we want to clean it up and take responsibility for that.”
Ricks says they are working closely with an environmental cleanup company, the Coast Guard, and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to clean up the oil. The facilities have been thoroughly cleaned, and a boom to catch the oil is in the river.
“You can see the water, you cant see anything in the water today, all there ever was was a little bit of a sheen on top of the water, but as I said, it doesn’t belong there,and the boom system that they set up, they replace those as they soil and then that gets taken away.”
DHEC says they are closely monitoring the situation to make sure every effort is being made to minimize environmental impact.
Below is a statement from DHEC:
“DHEC and the U.S. Coast Guard are working together to ensure proper cleanup from the oil spill at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. DHEC’s monitoring will help ensure the cleanup is in compliance with state regulations. Monitoring will continue until it is no longer needed. This is an ongoing investigation at this time. DHEC and the Coast Guard are working with the hospital to determine how the leak occurred. There is no indication of an ongoing release. The hospital has hired a cleanup contractor that has laid absorbent booms in the Beaufort River in order to contain the spill. The booms are used to soak up as much of the spill as possible. The fuel oil is being addressed by the hospital’s contractor to minimize impact to public health and the environment. The hospital is responsible for ensuring that the booms are maintained and operated to absorb any free oil in the river.
Regarding the oil leak situation at Lady’s Island Marina:
The US Coast Guard has hired a contractor to clean up the spill around the Lady’s Island Marina. The Coast Guard continues to investigate the source of the contaminants.”