For Immediate Release
Posted: September 20, 2023


Jim Martin
(603) 271-3710

New Hampshire Coastal Oil Spill Exercise Planned for September 27

Portsmouth, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) as chair of the Portsmouth Oil Spill Response Workgroup, in conjunction with the Maine/New Hampshire Area Committee, announced today that an oil spill exercise is planned to be held on September 27, 2023. 

This exercise will provide participants with an opportunity to assess capabilities, plans, policies and procedures. It will focus on decision making, coordination and integration with other organizations during a significant coastal oil spill. The expected outcome of the exercise will be improved working relationships between various local, state and federal agencies, as well as the local vessel transportation industry.  

Irving Oil has volunteered to act as the lead industry partner for this year’s exercise, along with assisting in the development of the exercise and spill scenario, Irving Oil will have a number of participants integrated into the Incident Management Team. 

A field component will be conducted where 2,400 feet of oil spill boom will be deployed in the area of Peirce Island in Portsmouth and Spruce Creek in Kittery, Maine. The deployments will provide the opportunity for state, federal and contracted response assets to train in the placement of spill protection strategies and to work collaboratively during a spill response.   

Exercise Scenario: 
The date is September 27, 2023 and at 6:00 in the morning, an equipment failure causes a significant release of oil into the water at the Irving Oil terminal in Portsmouth. Within a short time, Irving Oil, the US Coast Guard, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and affiliated response organizations initiate response actions. By 8:00 am the response Incident Management Team re-locates management of the spill response to the NHDES pre-designated Incident Command Post at the Pease Tradeport. The exercise “play” begins at 8:30 am, approximately 2 ½ hours after the spill.  

The following agencies and organizations will participate in the exercise: 
Irving Oil.
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
New Hampshire Fish and Game.
New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Portsmouth Police Department.
Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
US Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.
US Fish and Wildlife.
US Environmental Protection Agency.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Facility Response Team.
Sprague Energy.
Tristate Bird Rescue.
Republic Services.

For more information on this exercise, please contact Jason Domke, Planning and Preparedness Manager, NHDES Spill Response and Complaint Investigation Section at (603) 559-1506.

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