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Oil spill cleanup expected to end on Monday

oil spill cleanup
Hand tools and high-tech gear were used to clean up the beaches, DNREC said. This is an Oct. 27 U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Delaware’s beaches have been declared substantially “cleared” of spilled oil, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced on Friday.

As of late Friday, the only cleanup remaining is an area of Gordon’s Pond, part of Cape Henlopen State Park. It is expected this area will be clear on Monday.

Tar patties were first reported at Broadkill Beach, and they broke up and spread in the tide and currents for about 60 miles along the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, from Fowler Beach to Assateague Island State Park in Maryland.

Shoreline monitoring will still take place. The public is asked to report any sizable sightings of oil or oily debris, or oiled wildlife to DNREC at 800-662-8802.

 

About 85 tons of oily debris has been removed – use high-tech gear and hand tools – and is being disposed of in a landfill designed for petroleum-contaminated material.

The spill was first reported on Oct. 19. It source is still under active investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Marine Safety Lab in New London, Connecticut.

The cleanup involved DNREC, U.S. Coast Guard, the Maryland Department of the Environment and contractors.

“We are grateful for the commitment by our federal partner, the U.S. Coast Guard, to see it through, and for the DNREC responders — including emergency response personnel, environmental scientists and engineers — who worked to avert serious harm to our environment, particularly to our beaches,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said in a statement. The collaborative effort under the unified command has accomplished its goals in combating this oil spill.”

“While the source of the spill is still unknown and under investigation, we will continue to posture ourselves to monitor, and if need be, assign resources in the event more tar balls were to appear,” said Lt. Cmdr. Fredrick Pugh, U.S. Coast Guard incident commander.

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