This paper deals with the control and cleanup of a 100,000-gallon (422,000-liter) no. 6 fuel-oil spill which occurred in Casco Bay, Maine, on July 22, 1972. A lack of locally available equipment, logistics involved in moving men and equipment to numerous offshore islands which were affected by the spill, and disposal of large amounts of oil-soaked debris presented unique problems to on-scene personnel. Additionally, the development of environmental priorities for cleanup proved most critical because the area produces commercial harvests of shellfish, lobsters, and intertidal seaweed, and serves as one of Maine's principal recreation areas.
Of particular concern was the major obstacle encountered in disposing of over 10,000 yards (7,646 m3) of oil-soaked seaweed which had either been gathered from intertidal rocks or removed from the water surface, and over 4,500 yards (3,440 m3) of contaminated beach sand. Oil-soaked sand was finally placed in a sanitary landfill utilizing guidelines developed by personnel from EPA, Region I, Solid Waste Program. Oil-soaked debris was incinerated at a facility in Gray, Maine, which was specially modified for this purpose. Modifications included burner head and feed-grate changes to accept the debris.
The damage resulting from the spill and the effectiveness of the cleanup were studied up to one year after the spill, utilizing a private consulting firm under contract to EPA. These studies indicated that the cleanup techniques used resulted in more successful survival and/or recolonization of intertidal populations than in areas not cleaned.