Fire crews set up a boom in the Green River in Kent on Tuesday to help contain a small petroleum spill. Courtesy Photo/Renton RFA

Green River spill in Kent remains a mystery

The source of the small petroleum spill in the Green River in Kent remains unknown and most likely will stay a mystery.

“We unfortunately encounter many mystery spills where we cannot identify a responsible party,” said Larry Altose, spokesman for the state Department of Ecology, in a Wednesday email.

Hazardous materials response teams from Puget Sound Fire and Tukwila Fire responded to the spill Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters could see a sheen in the river from the South 196th Street overpass, according to a Puget Sound Fire media release. They quickly set out two sets of absorbent booms across the river; one at the bridge and one further downstream where the river runs through the city of Tukwila, to stop the movement of the material.

“Kent’s public works staff informed us that there is no stormwater outfall near the upstream end of where the material had been observed,” Altose said. “When such a pathway could lead to a source, we work with the city to track back through the stormwater system, but that option was not available in this incident. The source of the spill remains unknown.”

Oil spill cleanup boom and pads deployed by the fire department were kept out overnight, Altose said. The boom and pads were removed Wednesday after having trapped organic matter and a small bit of petroleum.

“We appreciate the fire department’s prompt response,” Altose said. “Increasingly local fire and public works agencies are helping to intercept and contain spills in the crucial early stages.”

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