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14

Cause of Lake Oil Sheen a Mystery

Divers could not determine the source of a thin sheen of oil that stretched for a mile from Salmon Bay through the Ship Canal to Lake Union on Saturday morning

Divers could not determine the source of a thin sheen of oil that stretched for a mile from Salmon Bay through the Ship Canal to Lake Union on Saturday morning.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew noticed the sheen during a flyover Saturday morning. Contract divers hired by the Coast Guard investigated an underwater storm outfall near the spot where droplets of oil were rising to the surface.

Another possible source authorities were considering is Gas Works Park, site of a state environmental cleanup.

The oil sheen was too thin for crews to lift from the water, said Katie Skipper, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology, which responded to the spill along with the Coast Guard.

So far, the spill does not appear to pose immediate health or environmental hazards, "although the area is subject to frequent spills that cause cumulative damage to habitat and harm fish, birds, plants and animals," according to a news release from the agencies early today.

City of Seattle and Ecology Department crews are expected to investigate the storm outfall and Gas Works cleanup site on Monday.

Author: Jo Amey