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State Overseeing Oil Spill Investigation At Mount Washington Hotel

Sven Klippel
Creative Commons

State officials say it could be weeks before they have a long-term cleanup plan after an oil spill at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel.

The spill of heavy, number-6 heating oil happened in June, near one of the hotel's boilers.

State waste management director Mike Wimsatt says the fuel, also known as bunker oil, may have been soaking into the ground there for some time without the hotel's knowledge.

He says an undetermined amount of spilled oil was only recently thinned by hot boiler condensate water. This allowed it to spread it into a nearby wetlands and a brook that feeds the Ammonoosuc River.

The spill did not reach the river or affect drinking water supplies, and Wimsatt says the hotel contractor has done a good job restoring the wetlands as part of its response.

He says the state is also overseeing the contractor's investigation of the spill, which could take several weeks.

"Once the site investigation's done, we'll have a pretty good idea of what the extent and location of the oil contamination in the ground is, and then we can develop a cleanup plan for that,” Wimsatt says.  

Wimsatt says the spill did kill about two dozen birds and a couple rodents.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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