On Wednesday Morning of February 10, 2021, a construction vessel with an excavator sank off the shoreline of Flathead Lake, in Montana. The vessel is leaking oil and a visible sheen on the lake was reported. EPA deployed an On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) to the Site on February 15, 2021. EPA OSC along with a US Coast Guard member will provide support and oversight of the vessel salvage activities.
The fuel tanks on board are believed to be intact and it was reported the sheen is being caused by a small fuel tank that was on board. The excavator is still attached to the barge and its’ fuel tank are reported to be intact. The fuel tanks on board have an estimated capacity of 250 gallons, but that information is unconfirmed.
Current weather conditions, freezing with high winds, have caused vessel recovery to be difficult and unattainable until after the cold front has disappeared. The vessel owner has hired a contractor(s) to help salvage the vessel and excavator form the lake. The initial plan by the vessel owner are to utilize air bags to help raise the vessel and pump off water from the barge simultaneously.