Oil Spill Cleanup Nears Its End; Investigation Continues

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An assessment by the Unified Command that has been dealing with an oil spill for two weeks indicates that the clean-up may be largely complete.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard utilized stringent federal and state guidelines to determine whether clean-up crews have been successful or if more work is needed.

“We have good reason to believe from our on-scene monitoring that the clearance of oil and cleanup efforts of oily debris from the beaches are largely complete. I would like to emphasize that people may continue to see small bits of oil or oily debris coming ashore here and there,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “The Unified Command of DNREC and the U.S. Coast Guard is following the outgoing high tide today to get an accurate accounting on a decision to sign off the cleanup or continue it at respective locations.”

The spill was first detected at Broadkill Beach October 19th. Oily blobs and tar balls have since washed up on Delaware ocean beaches as well as on the beach of Ocean City. Cleanup crews are expected to continue to respond to beaches that have been cleared in the event that more evidence of the oil spill turns up.

“This last step of the process requires a great deal of coordination and communication from all agencies serving in the Unified Command,” Coast Guard federal incident commander for the response Lt. Cmdr. Fredrick Pugh said. “At the end of the day, every person associated with this response effort is striving for the best possible outcome for affected areas and their residents. With that in common, we will make intelligent determinations, zone by zone, that prioritize human safety, protection of wildlife and preservation of the environment.”

Any future sightings of oily deposits may be reported to DNREC at 800-662-8802 or the Maryland Department of the Environment at 866-633-4686. The Coast Guard continues to investigate for the source of the spill. If the responsible party is identified, that person or organization would be required to reimburse the federal government for the cost.

DNREC also said Monday that more than 75 tons of oily debris and tar balls have been removed.