Four oil spills occurred at Texaco’s Anacortes Refinery facility on February 22, 1991; January 15, 1992; March 9, 1992; and March 25, 1992. Each of the incidents is briefly summarized below:
• The largest of the four oil spills occurred on February 22, 1991. On that date the Texaco’s Anacortes Refinery facility experienced a pump housing failure during a ship off-loading operation, causing a release of approximately 5000 barrels of Alaska North Slope crude oil. Approximately 3000 barrels were contained in a catch basin, and of the 2000 barrels that were discharged on the land, approximately 550 barrels reached Fidalgo Bay. The weather that prevailed throughout the week after the spill consisted of light to strong northeasterly winds, warm sunny days and weak tides. These conditions helped to contain most of the oil to the southern part of the bay. The spilled oil spread throughout the southern part of Fidalgo Bay and most of the oil stranded along the southern and eastern shorelines. A variety of intertidal habitats were oiled including: salt marsh, eelgrass, mud flats, mixed cobble beaches, boulders, rip-rap and pilings.
• On January 15, 1992 a leak in a pipeline at the Texaco’s Anacortes Refinery facility resulted in the release of between two and four barrels (84-168 gallons) of oil onto the ground and in to a drainage ditch that flowed into Fidalgo Bay. While apparently no oil reached the bay, approximately 15 gallons were recovered from the drainage ditch.
• On March 9, 1992, oil was discharged out of a vent at the Texaco’s Anacortes Refinery facility. A small amount of oil was spilled, but the oil did enter Fidalgo Bay, causing a visible sheen.
• On March 25, 1992, Texaco’s Anacortes Refinery facility experienced a tubing failure when a pipeline and two check valves failed. This caused a release of approximately 11.5 barrels of waste oil/petroleum products, which flowed into nearby surface waters of the state.
Credit: Dave Doty, Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife