The US Coast Guard has finished clean-up operations on the Columbia River in Astoria after almost a month. The USCG estimated that well over 2,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Columbia River and that the cleanup cost would be more than $900,000, to be paid by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF).
The sheen appeared on the river near the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria in the middle of January. The USCG, called in to stop the oil spreading further, found a 16ft by 6ft oil tank underneath a crumbling old pier.
The tank was removed on January 30th, but containment and cleaning of the remaining oil, which collected on the nearby seawall and pilings, has taken weeks. It remains unknown whence the oil tank originated, or who might be responsible for its presence under the pier. The OSLTF, established by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1990, pays for clean-up in instances where the responsible party is unknown or cannot afford the clean-up.