Crews quickly clean up Fore River asphalt spill

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Crews on Wednesday night finished cleaning up 670 gallons of liquid asphalt that spilled into the Fore River on Tuesday.

The spill was reported to the U.S. Coast Guard around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Clean Harbors finished cleaning up the spill the following night. 

USCG Operations Specialist Wesley Williams said the spill occurred when a transfer tube ruptured while the vessel, Asphalt Seminole, was off-loading liquid asphalt at the Sprague Energy terminal. Williams said the asphalt quickly solidified when it hit the cold water, forming a pancake-like material within the containment boom. 

“That actually helped with the clean-up,” Williams said.

Although asphalt is a petroleum-based product, Williams said there was no visible oil slick.

The Coast Guard sent a pollution investigator, a marine investigator and a facility responder. Also responding were the South Portland Fire Department, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, National Response Corporation and a manager from Sprague Energy. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or