Tar Balls, Oily Bits Continue Showing Up At Beaches

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Remnants of an oil spill that was first detected at Broadkill Beach last month have made their way further south.


DNREC and the Coast Guard say cleanup crews have cleared tar balls and oily debris from ocean beaches between Cape Henlopen and Fenwick Island in Delaware as well as Ocean City and Assateague Island State Park in Maryland. Cleanup operations will go on as needed, and resources will be deployed to remaining affected areas. Beaches continue to be examined daily.


About 75 tons of oily debris has been removed by cleanup crews in the past two weeks.


The cause of the oil spill and the responsible parties are not yet known. The Coast Guard is trying to track down the source, who if identified would be required to reimburse the federal government for the cleanup operation.


The beach at Lewes remains temporarily closed. The unified command is disbanding its command post in Slaughter Beach but will continue to monitor the situation remotely with people close by in the area.

“Our team came together to address an urgent threat to the environment, and though that threat isn’t over, we believe we have structures, procedures and relationships established to shift our cooperative efforts to manage clean up remotely,” Coast Guard Incident Commander Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Pugh said. “We will continue to watch areas that have been impacted and will shift resources as necessary.”

Sightings of tar balls or oily deposits may be reported to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources environmental hotline at 800-662-8802 or the Maryland Department of the Environment at 866-633-4686.