Officials successfully conclude Strawberry Creek cleanup effort

Authorities announced today (Wednesday, Feb. 1) the successful conclusion of diesel cleanup efforts at Strawberry Creek following a Dec. 10, 2011, spill at the University of California, Berkeley’s Stanley Hall.

The decision to conclude the work was reached by agreement of the coordinating agencies and entities involved in the clean-up from the start, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Coast Guard, state Department of Fish and Game; city of Berkeley; and UC Berkeley. 

Work crews recovered nearly 1,000 gallons of the 1,650 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled from a malfunctioning emergency generator system in Stanley Hall. Oil had spilled down to the basement’s storm water pumps and into Strawberry Creek, which runs through campus and the city to San Francisco Bay.

According to experts with Fish and Game and the Coast Guard, an oil spill recovery of 20 percent is considered successful. In this case, almost 60 percent has been recovered.

Floating spill booms with absorbent pads that were placed to trap remaining diesel have been removed, as have signs warning creek users of the spill. Environmental experts will continue to monitor the recovery of the creek, and the data will be posted on UC Berkeley’s Strawberry Creek website. Additional updates and information about the creek will be provided on that website as well.

While natural mechanisms such as storm flows and bio-degradation are expected to remove any small, residual amounts of fuel from the creek and bay that may remain, it is possible that light sheens of diesel or occasional fuel odors may continue to be present at times. Officials advise residents to wash their hands after contact with urban creek water, regardless of the appearance or lack of odor.

Click this link for previous NewsCenter story on the cleanup.