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EPA Opens Its Ocean Research Vessel To The Public

Release Date: 04/15/1998
Contact Information:

(#98031) San Juan, P.R. -- In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will open its only Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV), "Peter W. Anderson," to the people of Puerto Rico for a tour on Sunday, April 26. The ship will be docked at the Coast Guard base in Old San Juan courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard. The public is invited to tour the ship between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

The Anderson is in Puerto Rico from April 16 - May 13 to take samples and monitor conditions of the island's near-shore waters. EPA, which will focus its sampling efforts on areas that receive discharges from wastewater treatment plants, will use the information collected to assess the environmental impacts of the wastewater plants and make future regulatory decisions about them. The ship will be used to take samples of water and sediments from the bottom of the ocean and to assess the health of fish and other marine life. In addition, it will use a special remotely-controlled camera to film the coral reefs. EPA will share the information gathered with the public and the government of Puerto Rico.

"The Anderson is a crucial part of EPA's efforts to preserve and protect thousands of miles of coastal waters from Maine to the Caribbean," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. The ship is an invaluable tool that allows us to evaluate the effects of pollution on the marine environment and take action to protect it."

The Anderson has served the federal government for over 30 years. Built in 1966 as a U.S. Naval Patrol Gunboat (the USS Antelope), the ship saw action in the Vietnam War before being converted for scientific use in 1979. The ship was later re-named "OSV Peter W. Anderson" after an EPA Region 2 scientist.

The Anderson operates in ocean and river waters from Maine to the Caribbean. It has been used to:

Respond to marine and estuarine emergencies. In 1990, the Anderson helped respond to a 750,000 gallon crude oil spill in the Delaware River. In 1992, the Anderson helped the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy find drums of deadly arsenic that had washed off the deck of a container ship 25 miles off the coast of Cape May, New Jersey.

Monitor disposal activities and conditions at ocean disposal sites to ensure that we are taking every step necessary to ensure that there are no adverse impacts of disposal of dredged materials on the marine environment.

Assess the important estuaries, harbors and ocean waters of the U.S., including Puerto Rico.

For more information contact:
Carl Soderberg
EPA Caribbean Environmental Protection Division
1492 Ponce De Leon Avenue
Santurce, PR 00909
Voice: 787-729-6951 FAX: 787-729-7747 E-Mail: