Tue | Day 14 – Future Clean-Ups & Reminder Tips

prep.jpgPer KTS this morning:

“With the Volunteers trained and oil still washing up on our beaches, we know people are frustrated with the official volunteer efforts coming to an end, prematurely.  Stay tuned for additional clean-ups to be organized, timed with the tides.  Please continue to help us get feedback on the state of the beaches, on site, photos, stories.”



Courtesy of Lynn Stone.  Feel free to forward.

  • Picking up Globules: This outline is intended as a refresher for those who have taken the HazMat course. If you have not taken the 4 hour course and you want to pick up oil anyway, the ‘authorities‘ are saying you can’t do that on your own familiar beaches that you love and enjoy. Many people are picking up oil without the training. They could be exposing themselves to toxins.

  • Currently, the officials are are no longer recruiting volunteers anyway. The beaches will have oil washing up on them for a while still. Things may be different in Marin, which was hard hit. Please follow these HazMat guidelines for safety reasons, both for yourself and others. Thank you!

  • Tyvek suits are available at many hardwear stores, as are good nitrile gloves, bags, and good old duct tape! Get a strong garbage bag and whatever tools you want. A kitty litter scoop might work, or some kind of strainer type kitchen tool. Some areas of beach will have big globs, some will be very small. You might want knee pads if you think they would help. What you do with the oil you pick up will depend on where you are. Please do not just put it in the garbage. Call available phone #’s at the top of the page for safe pick up in SF, or inquire locally.

  • General spill and oil info:
    There are spills in the bay every day.The oil was diesel also, so it spread a lot and was hard to boom. The oil is now a slight hazard to clean up crews. It is not a reactive chemical. Good compatibility with the tyvek suits and protective gear.EXPOSURE. Short term exposure is called acute exposure; long term exposure is called chronic.Much of the cancer causing chemicals have evaporated. Fresh oil evaporates toxics, Benzene, toulene, xylene. In low lying areas don’t smoke, as there could be a suffocation risk. The oil is no longer fresh, and fumes should not accumulate. Still, be aware.Rotten oil smell is hydrogen sulfide.This stuff is globtastic, there are up to 6 ft globs.
    Oil is going to a hazardous waste landfill. Type of fuel in spill is IFO-380. Intermediate Fuel Oil- 380 MSDS sheets available for download. Google it
  • This process is going to take a long time, Every wave has thousands of globules. The external surface of the globs has weathered and will not spread and rejoin other globs if they touch.
  • It is only moderately combustable. Extinguish with dry chemical. Fumes could gather in low areas. Don’t smoke; if you eat it don’t induce vomiting as aspiration can cause chemical pneumonia.
  • How toxic is the stuff? If you keep it off your body and don’t eat it, it is not that toxic. Don’t get it on your skin.
  • Health Risks:


Length of exposure and concentration determine risk. The oil contains irritants and carcinogens.

Crude oil likes fats, it likes your skin, it wants to stick on to your skin and soak into it.
Wear a respirator if you think you are sensitive to the fumes.

There are some biological threats in the coastal environments, specifically viral and biological bacteria that can infect cuts. Stay away from sharps (needles).Toxic effects can vary based on gender, age, susceptibilities, health and
routes of exposure- absorption is the #1 way here. You could have toxic effects from inhalation, ingestion, and injection. Don’t do those things.
 Influences on sensitivity: Condition of skin. Duration of exposure. Watch out when you eat, drink or smoke, or better yet: Don’t.
You will smell sulfur. Don’t worry about that, just don’t get the stuff on you.

OSHA allows 5mg/m (then there is a little three up above the last m) every 8 hours of exposure to the petroleum distillated present in the oil. So no problem.

If you eat it (don’t!) you could have nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
If you get it in your eyes, flush for 15 minutes with fresh water.
A skin rash would appear in reaction to the oil sooner rather than later.
If you sweat in gear stay hydrated. You can wear shorts. Suit will keep oily debris off skin.

  • Dealing with the Suit:
  • Get nitrile gloves (not latex gloves).
    You might feel like a dork in the tyvek suit, but it will keep microglobuals of oil off your clothes and hence your skin. Watch out if the suit gets wet as it will weaken and is more likely to tear. Think about tying back long hair and possibly covering it.Jewelry will rip gear sometimes. You might trip on the booties. If you are not working with an official clean-up crew, as these notes were intended for, and you can not get proper booties, you could use bags and duct tape, or designate a pair of old boots for oil cleanup use ONLY. Tape suit over tops of boots. Pay attention to how long you are in the suit. Rest. Take breaks. If you need to take off suit to pee and drink be prepared to do that. You will ruin the suit removing it, so have another ready to put on. Technically you shouldn’t eat or drink in suit. You will need help to get suit on and off. Double glove. Tape front zipper. Sleeves of suit go over gloves and booties. You might have to cut it off. Get help.


  • Questions for the US Coast Guard should be directed to their public information office at (510) 437-3325. 
  • To report oil on the beach or in the water, please call (415) 398-9617.
  • For pickup and disposal of oily waste, please call (415) 398-9617.
  • To report oiled wildlife on the beach or in the water, please call (415) 701-2311.
  • To file a claim for oiled property, please call (886) 442-9650.
  • Public Information Hotline and Media Inquiries, please call (415) 398-9621.

KTS volunteer symptoms + Hazards of Bunker Fuel

From the web:  

“Safer handling of bunker fuel on board (for ships carrying oil)Everyone on board should be fully aware of the fact that heavy fuel oil is carcinogenic and every contact with skin should be avoided. Oil resistant clothing and gloves should always be used in contact with the fuel.”  

 See Bunker Oil articles below based on our own research (thank B.O’rourke). 
– LiquidMinerals article  | Gronkemi article |  Valero On Bunker Fuel  | BP article

A number of folks, from first-hand communication are experiencing headaches, sinus irritation, nausea and more.  So, it probably best to not being exposed too long to the fumes.   For some, symptoms have mostly cleared up after a day or two.  So, in general, avoid direct contact with the oil.  Others suggest masks, heavy gloves (not latex), goggles, sunglasses or other eye protection.  Be careful of rogue waves that might splash you with oily water.   

Zuna Surf Staff Members are researching the topic with experts and KTS has had conversations with local EPA folks, but we welcome more input. 

Note, though, we’ve heard conflicting reports as to what kind of oil this is [bunker fuel C6??] and how dangerous it is for humans, pets, kids, etc. — fumes or direct contact with the oil.  Much of it depends on exposure and type of contact, and more.  If you have compromised immune systems, take bigger precautions!

Oil Spill Study – Respiratory Problems with Volunteers

From the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine…This is a study on the volunteers of the 2002 Prestige Oil Spill.   – MMU (via Zuna Surf).

EPA’s Hazard Rating of SF Spill to Humans

“According to the EPA training session today at the Irish Cultural Center,  they indicated that the oil is a 2 out of 4 in terms of the hazard with a low level of risk. ”  – K.Egan, Kill The Spill

Sat 7pm Update – Bunker Oil, EPA gets involved, Sunday Schedule

From front line resources:

o  FYI, Bunker Oil (as identified in early media articles) is what was spilled….and according to our own research online (see below), it is known to be carcinogenic

We’ve been told that it may be “bunker oil C6” from other govt agencies and the KTS crew was told that the EPA is going to be testing it (that may have been in the media/press conference at OB). 

Per our Google research, “Everyone…should be fully aware of the fact that heavy fuel oil [bunker oil] is carcinogenic and every contact with skin should be avoided. Oil resistant clothing and gloves should always be used in contact with the fuel.”

 See Bunker Oil articles below based on our own research (thank B.O’rourke). 
http://www.liquidminerals.com/fuels.htm  | http://www.gronkemi.nu/skepp_eng.html
– from bp:


SUNDAY CLEAN-UP SCHEDULE by the Kill the Spill Crew | Surfrider Cleanup, too.

Although the EPA got involved with cleanup and had official crews starting work on Ocean Beach at 3:30pm (surfers’ efforts worked so far!) — and the media was all over it –we heard the Kill the Spill crews were able to continue working.   The grassroots KTS surf crew will still continue efforts on Sunday.  Meet 2pm at Taraval is the word.    Stay tuned for more updates here and at http://www.zunasurf.com/oilspill  or KTS site  http://sfoilspill.blogspot.com

Surfrider SF’s own regularly scheduled cleanup for SUNDAY seems to be still on. 
They meet Sunday at 10AM Stair 17 in front of Beach Chalet.  Check their site first, since that may change anytime.  http://www.SFsurfrider.org

– KTS sources, Zuna Surf Staff