Cleanup of oil on Delaware Bay coastline intensifies, additional resources deployed

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DELAWARE – Officials the cleanup of an oil spill along the Delaware Bay coastline intensified Friday morning, with additional resources deployed by state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations.

We’re told more than 125 environmental professionals from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Delaware Department of Transportation, the Coast Guard and its environmental contractor, and the Delaware Bay and River Cooperative are expected to be engaged in removing oil after a spill deposited blobs of oil called tar balls and oiled debris this week over a stretch of the Delaware coastline, extending from the upper Delaware Bay to the tip of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Delaware Bay and River Cooperative dispatched an oil skimming vessel to remove oily debris seen Thursday afloat in the Bay. Tri-State Bird Rescue of Newark is continuing to investigate reports of wildlife impacted by oil and treating captured seagulls and other wildlife that has been oiled in the water.

“We continue to mobilize our expert resources as the tides spread oil from the beaches back into the water and back on the beach,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “We are combing the beaches and, shovel by shovel, removing the tar balls and contaminated sand.” The crews are manually removing oil patties and tar balls are being found on various locations along the coast. Approximately 21 tons of oily sand and debris, filling 1 ½ dumpsters, was removed from the affected areas as of 7 p.m. Thursday.

On Thursday, the city of Lewes closed its beaches temporarily due to oil that had come ashore and posed a threat to people and pets who visit them. DNREC closed the 4-wheel drive surf fishing crossing at Delaware Beach Plum Island Preserve so cleanup operations will not be hampered by vehicles tracking oil onto the sand.

While cleanup continues, the Coast Guard and DNREC are strongly advising the public to not handle any oily product found or try to help affected wildlife along the shore. Citizens are asked to report the findings to DNREC’s environmental hotline at 800-662-8802 so the situations can be address by hazmat trained professionals.

Categories: Delaware, Local News