Ports Authority Investigates San Juan Bay Spill
After a reported spill at the San Juan Bay last Sunday, the Ports Authority activated an emergency environmental response protocol that included contacting the US Coast Guard, the municipality of San Juan, the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), the Environmental Quality Board (EQB), and the National Response Center (NRC).
The Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá said the cleaning efforts carried out by Ports Authority contractors included the installation of absorbent material and the deployment of specialized equipment that has so far effectively contained the material. In addition, biodegradable solvents were used to neutralize this material in the water.
“The situation is under control thanks to the prompt response of the Ports Authority and the entire inter-agency team. It is important to emphasize that preliminary investigations indicate that the material in question is not fuel or material typical of a maritime operation,” Pizá said.
The Ports Authority executive director further noted that so far, the investigation suggests that this product has the characteristics of asphalt material coming from the surrounding sewers. However, this product is also being collected with absorbent material by the contracted firm.
“The Ports Authority does not rule out making a complaint to the Puerto Rico Police Department and any other relevant forum to rule out that what happened on Sunday morning was the result of a deliberate act or gross negligence,” Pizá said. He said the material would be analyzed for identification purposes.
“The Ports Authority and the other agencies will continue to carefully monitor the outcome of this situation, which, as we have already mentioned, is fortunately under control,” Pizá said.