Leader of Davy Crockett cleanup honored

He coordinated 10-month effort to remove derelict barge

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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The U.S. Coast Guard officer who helped choreograph last year’s cleanup and dismantling of the derelict barge Davy Crockett will be honored during a regional conference this week.

Capt. Daniel LeBlanc was the federal on-scene coordinator of the 10-month response after the vessel buckled and spilled oil and debris into the Columbia River. Officials first traced an oil sheen to the Davy Crockett in January 2011— that’s when federal authorities stepped in — and finished the extensive cleanup near Camas last November.

This Wednesday, Le-Blanc will be honored for his efforts. He’ll receive a Legacy award from the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force during this week’s Clean Pacific Conference in Long Beach, Calif. LeBlanc is among six recipients of the award this year, according to the organization.

Officials from both Washington and Oregon faced a complex task in cleaning up the Davy Crockett. Unable to move the vessel off the north bank of the Columbia, crews instead built a steel barrier around it to contain oil and debris. They then dismantled the barge where it lay, piece by piece, until it was gone.

The effort produced some eye-catching numbers before it was done. Workers pulled 3.5 million pounds of steel and more than a million pounds of debris out of the river. They recovered 38,000 gallons of bunker oil. They removed another 1.6 million gallons of oily water mixture, and 4,850 pounds of asbestos.

The incident ran up a final tab of $22 million, covered by the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

When the final piece of the barge was pulled from the river last August, Le-Blanc and other site leaders highlighted the number they felt was most important:

Zero injuries on the job.

Eric Florip: 360-735-4541; http://twitter.com/col_enviro;eric.florip@columbian.com.