SCARBOROUGH – State emergency environmental responders will conduct a day-long boom deployment exercise Thursday in order to prepare to protect Scarborough Marsh in the event of an oil spill.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has contracted with Moran Environmental Recovery, Boom Technologies Inc. and Nuka Research to assist with the drill, which will run from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and also includes the United States Coast Guard and the Scarborough Fire Department.
The training exercise – developed after two recent days of pre-deployment testing to measure tidal flow and velocity and evaluate potential float oil trajectories for both a flood and an ebb tide – is to test the feasibility of response strategies in the event of a large marine oil spill offshore threatening the Scarborough River and the state’s largest salt marsh.
Owned and managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the 3,100-acre estuary known as Scarborough Marsh is a recreational resource for canoeing, kayaking and birding and is critically important for wildlife as a resting, breeding and feeding ground.
It is close to Portland Harbor, the second-largest oil import port on the East Coast, bringing in approximately 130 million barrels of oil annually to seven licensed marine terminals.
Maine has a total of 209 protection strategies designed for environmentally sensitive areas from Kittery to Calais, and the DEP has an active program to review and test these strategies – particularly in areas with the highest risk for marine oil spills – to ensure natural resources are most effectively protected.